Guide to Cottontail Rabbit Nesting Season: Tips and Facts

Wild cottontail rabbits are nesting! Cottontail rabbit nesting season usually runs from late February to September, with peak births from March to July.

Cottontail Nesting Behavior Basics

Mother cottontail scrapes a depression in the ground and lines it with grass and her own fur. To protect this location she stays away all day. She only returns at dawn and dusk for nursing. Young bunnies are ready to leave the nest 3-4 weeks after birth.

What are the biggest Risks to Wild rabbit Nests?

Cottontails face many obstacles, and city bunnies face additional challenges. The biggest problems facing the wild urban-dwelling cottontail babies are: 1. Being run over by a lawn mower. 2. Being caught by cats or dogs. 3. Being found by children.

Tips to help cottontails

•   Always check yard before mowing, tilling, weed trimming, digging in mulch piles or burning brush piles.

•   If you find a nest leave it alone. Unattended babies are probably NOT orphaned.

•   Keep dogs and cats away.

•   If a nest has been disturbed, replace all materials and set the babies back inside. Rabbits will still care for their young, even if touched by humans.

•   Injured babies: bring only the injured to your local wildlife rehabilitation center – leave the healthy babies to be raised naturally. Injured mother: bring the entire family to your local wildlife rehabilitation center.

 In some states, keeping or nursing wildlife is unlawful if you do not have a wildlife rehabber permit. Check your state Department of Natural Resources for more information.

©Copyright Amy Ramnaraine. All Rights Reserved. Republished with the permission of the author.

  • Amy Ramnaraine

    Since 2001 my life has been filled with my own beloved, free-roaming house rabbits. They fueled my desire to help other people and their rabbits live happily and healthfully together. I began as a local educator for the Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society (2008 — 2015). I then became a licensed educator for the national House Rabbit Society (2016 — 2023). I have expanded my own rabbit knowledge through many conferences and seminars on rabbit care, behavior, and health. As a rabbit advocate I’ve organized transports, campaigned, fostered, and provided hospice care. As an educator I’ve done my best to create easily accessible information to improve the lives of rabbits and the humans who care for them. My beloved bunnies were: Mouse & Duchess, Captain BlackOak & Pixel, Fluffston, Guinevere, Joy & Magnus.

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