The Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) is a species of cottontail rabbit native to North, Central, and South America. They are one of the most common rabbits in North America. Throughout their range, cottontails can be found in meadows or any open grassy area with an abundance of well-distributed dense shrubs for cover.
Individuals will typically inhabit one home range throughout their lifetime, but home range shifts in response to vegetation changes and weather are common. The largest ranges are occupied by adult males during the breeding season. Cottontails do not dig their own dens but instead use burrows dug by other species, such as groundhogs. Woody cover is extremely important for the survival of eastern cottontails, as it gives them a safe place to hide from predators. These include bobcats, coyotes, wolves, foxes, weasels, and birds of prey. When chased, it runs in a zigzag pattern, running up to 18 mph.
Eastern cottontails are crepuscular to nocturnal feeders; although they usually spend most of the daylight hours resting in shallow depressions under vegetative cover or other shelter, they can be seen at any time of day. They are most active when visibility is limited, such as rainy or foggy nights. Eastern cottontails usually move only short distances, and can remain sitting very still for up to 15 minutes at a time. Eastern cottontails are active year-round and do not hibernate.