By: Kyle L Teufel

This week’s blog is inspired by one of my favorite neighbors here at The Woods, one who’s been quite busy all winter long. Our resident cottontail has made itself a cozy home in the brush pile behind the nature center along the Backyard Wildlife Trail. Signs of his presence can be seen all around the Nature Center. Prints here, scat there (or as I like to call them, pops), a nibbled branch, and some yellow snow.

A picture of cottontail rabbit prints in the snow, found throughout the Pavilion (2015). Photo by: Kyle L Teufel

A picture of cottontail rabbit scat and some nibbled branches in the snow, found by the front yard nature scape (2015). Photo by: Kyle L Teufel

These crepuscular (active during dawn or dusk) to nocturnal (active in the evening) animals are rather elusive, but thanks to a trailcam we were able to catch a peek of our hoppy friend!

Snapshots of the cottontail rabbit coming out of the brush pile that it calls home, photos taken by an overnight trailcam (2015). Photo by: Kyle L Teufel

A view looking into one of the brush pile entrances(2015). Photo by: Kyle L Teufel.

A view looking into one of the brush pile entrances(2015). Photo by: Kyle L Teufel.

While there are many intriguing facts about rabbits, for example, their coprophagy tendencies (they make a habit of consuming their own fecal matter) seems to raise quite a few eyebrows, I love to note how clever these little survivalists really are. This can be seen by taking a closer look at our little friend’s brush pile. Believe it or not, this single brush pile has five entrances/exits, so no matter which direction the rabbit is grazing, a quick escape is easy to access. Not only can he quickly get inside, but this way he always has a secret back door he can run out, in the event that someone comes snooping inside. Rabbits have also developed quite an ingenious way to confuse predators in hot pursuit, they run in a quick zig-zag pattern. Imagine trying to hit that target!

According to these pictures, it would appear that our backyard friend seems to currently be a loner, but with spring so close at hand, keep an eye on the brush pile for other little tails to come hoppin’ through the forest.