The Eastern Cottontail rabbit is the most common rabbit found in Arlington. They have grayish-brown fur, with a reddish-brown neck, and a white tail. Cottontails have four to five litters each year with as many as eight young per litter, with an average litter of four. Babies are born naked and blind and are completely weaned in about twenty one days. The nests are saucer like depressions three to four inches deep and about eight inches across. The nest is lined with soft, dead grass and hair from the mother’s underside. A covering of grass and hair is used to hid the nest and keep the babies dry and warm.
How to Know if Babies are Abandoned
This is the most common call for service Arlington Animal Services receives regarding rabbits. Baby rabbits are found in a nest in the back yard and they are abandoned. Mother rabbits only feed their young twice a day and only for a short period of time. This is to prevent the babies from being found by predators. To verify if the mother is taking care of the young, place two pieces of string over the nest in an X. Wait twenty four hours and if the X has not been disturbed then the babies are probably orphaned and you should call for help. If the X is disturbed mom is still taking care of the babies. Keep pets and children away and the babies will be gone within twenty one days.
Reference sources: 911 Wildlife and Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
More About Rabbits
- Rehabilitators in the metroplex area – DFW Wildlife Coalition
- 911 Wildlife – Rabbit
- Texas Parks and Wildlife – Eastern Cottontail
- The Humane Society of the United States – What to Do About Wild Rabbits: The timid rabbit occasionally nibbles plants in your garden but usually lives unnoticed on the fringes of our yards (Adapted from the book Wild Neighbors)
- Steps to Reduce Wildlife at Home
- What to Do About Orphaned or Injured Wildlife
- Texas Parks & Wildlife
- List of Wildlife Rehabilitators for Tarrant County, or call the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Wildlife Information Line at 800-792-1112
- Learn about other wildlife
- View maps of other Arlington wildlife sightings
- Animal Services contact information and hours of operation