Species Profile
Environmental Conservation Online System

New England Cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus transitionalis)

Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Mammalia
Order: Lagomorpha
Family: Leporidae

Listing Status:   

General Information

The New England cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis) is a medium-large sized cottontail rabbit that may reach 1,000 grams (2.2 pounds) in weight. Sometimes called the gray rabbit, brush rabbit, wood hare or cooney, it can usually be distinguished from the sympatric eastern cottontail and snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) by several features. In general, the New England cottontail can be distinguished by its shorter ear length, slightly smaller body size, presence of a black spot between the ears, absence of a white spot on the forehead, and a black line on the anterior edge of the ears (Litvaitis et al. 1991, p. 11). The New England cottontail, like all cottontails, is short lived and reproduces at an early age with some juveniles probably breeding their first season. Litter size is typically five young (range 3-8) and females, which provide little parental care, may have 2-3 litters per year. New England cottontails occupy native shrublands associated with sandy soils or wetlands and regenerating forests associated with small scale disturbances that set back forest succession. New England cottontails are considered habitat specialists, in so far as they are dependent upon these early-successional habitats, frequently described as thickets (Litvaitis 2001, p. 466).

Map of Species occurrence

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Map Image Map of Species occurrence Map of Species occurrence

This map represents our best available information about where a species is currently known to or or is believed to occur; however, it should NOT be used as an official species list for Section 7 Consultation purposes. To obtain an official species list for this purpose, please visit the Information, Planning, and Conservation (IPaC) System (click here: http://ecos.fws.gov/ipac)



Current Listing Status Summary
Status Date Listed Lead Region Where Listed
Northeast Region (Region 5)

» Candidate Information

Current Candidate Status

Listing Priority: 2
Magnitude: High
Immediacy: Imminent
Taxonomy: Species
Species Assessment: Species Assessment Form for the Sylvilagus transitionalis.
Candidate Notice of Review Documents (Showing 5 of 13: view all)
Date Citation Page Title
11/22/2013 77 FR 70103 70162 Review of Native Species That are Candidates for Listing as Endangered or Threatened; Annual Notice of Findings on Resubmitted Petitions; Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions
11/21/2012 77 FR 69993 70060 Review of Native Species That Are Candidates for Listing as Endangered or Threatened; Annual Notice of Findings on Resubmitted Petitions; Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions
10/26/2011 76 FR 66370 66439 Review of Native Species That Are Candidates for Listing as Endangered or Threatened; Annual Notice of Findings on Resubmitted Petitions; Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions
11/10/2010 75 FR 69222 69294 Review of Native Species That Are Candidates for Listing as Endangered or Threatened; Annual Notice of Findings on Resubmitted Petitions; Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions; Proposed Rule
11/09/2009 74 FR 57804 57878 Review of Native Species That Are Candidates for Listing as Endangered or Threatened; Annual Notice of Findings on Resubmitted Petitions; Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions

» Federal Register Documents

Most Recent Federal Register Documents (Showing 5 of 15: view all)
Date Citation Page Title
11/22/2013 77 FR 70103 70162 Review of Native Species That are Candidates for Listing as Endangered or Threatened; Annual Notice of Findings on Resubmitted Petitions; Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions
11/21/2012 77 FR 69993 70060 Review of Native Species That Are Candidates for Listing as Endangered or Threatened; Annual Notice of Findings on Resubmitted Petitions; Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions
10/26/2011 76 FR 66370 66439 Review of Native Species That Are Candidates for Listing as Endangered or Threatened; Annual Notice of Findings on Resubmitted Petitions; Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions
11/10/2010 75 FR 69222 69294 Review of Native Species That Are Candidates for Listing as Endangered or Threatened; Annual Notice of Findings on Resubmitted Petitions; Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions; Proposed Rule
10/27/2010 75 FR 66122 66123 New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, Application for Enhancement of Survival Permit, New England Cottontail, Hillsborough, Rockingham, Merrimack, Cheshire, and Strafford Counties, NH

» Action Plans

Action Plans (Showing 1 of 1)
Date Title
New England cottontail action plan

» Conservation Plans

Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAA): (learn more) (Showing 1 of 1)
CCAA Plan Summaries
Programmatic CCAA for the New England Cottontail in Southern New Hampshire

» Petitions

Most Recent Petition Findings (Showing 4 of 4)
Date Citation Page Title Finding
11/21/2012 77 FR 69993 70060 Review of Native Species That Are Candidates for Listing as Endangered or Threatened; Annual Notice of Findings on Resubmitted Petitions; Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions
  • Notice 12 month petition finding, Warranted but precluded
  • Notice CNOR
  • 10/26/2011 76 FR 66370 66439 Review of Native Species That Are Candidates for Listing as Endangered or Threatened; Annual Notice of Findings on Resubmitted Petitions; Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions
  • Notice 12 month petition finding, Warranted but precluded
  • Notice CNOR
  • 09/12/2006 71 FR 53756 53835 Review of Native Species That Are Candidates or Proposed for Listing as Endangered or Threatened; Annual Notice of Findings on Resubmitted Petitions; Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions
  • Notice 12 month petition finding, Warranted but precluded
  • Notice CNOR
  • 06/30/2004 69 FR 39395 39400 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List the New England Cottontail as Threatened or Endangered
  • Notice 90-day Petition Finding, Substantial
  • » Life History

    No Life History information has been entered into this system for this species.

    » Other Resources

    NatureServe Explorer Species Reports -- NatureServe Explorer is a source for authoritative conservation information on more than 50,000 plants, animals and ecological communtities of the U.S and Canada. NatureServe Explorer provides in-depth information on rare and endangered species, but includes common plants and animals too. NatureServe Explorer is a product of NatureServe in collaboration with the Natural Heritage Network.

    ITIS Reports -- ITIS (the Integrated Taxonomic Information System) is a source for authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.

    Last updated: July 24, 2014