Brown and white with a fuzzy cottontail, thebrush rabbit is a subspecies of the more common brush rabbit which is found in Oregon, California and Baja California, Mexico. It’s a small rabbit; full-grown adults measure about 12 inches in length and weigh just 1.5 pounds.
The riparian brush rabbit was once believed to be reduced to a single population in Caswell Memorial State Park, but another population was discovered near Lathrop, California, in 1998. Since this discovery, a third population has been reintroduced to the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge. While recovery efforts are underway for the species, the rabbit is among the rarest mammals in the state. It was listed as endangered on February 23, 2000.
The biggest current threat to the species is a fatal virus that infects rabbits across the western United States. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with partners to vaccinate rabbits against the virus. Other threats to the species include seasonal flooding of habitat, development and land use change, wildfire, drought and predation.
If they survive their first year of life,brush rabbits can live for three or more years in the wild.
Riparian brush rabbits typically breed from January to May. Females can have multiple litters per year, with three to four young per litter. Gestation is approximately 27 days. Brush rabbits use nests for birthing and raising neonates for approximately two weeks after birth. Riparian brush rabbit nests are rarely observed, because nests are typically hidden within large clumps of dense, and often thorny, vegetation. Young rabbits typically leave the nest at two weeks of age. Thebrush rabbit reaches adult size approximately 77 to 84 days after birth.
Habitat for thebrush rabbit consists of riparian areas that contain willow thickets (Salix spp.), California wild rose (Rosa californica), Pacific blackberry (Rubus vitifolius), wild grape (Vitis californica), Douglas' coyote bush (Baccharis douglasii) and various grasses. The rabbits have small home ranges that are limited by the size of available brushy habitat.
A natural body of running water.
Environments influenced by humans in a less substantial way than cities. This can include agriculture, silvaculture, aquaculture, etc.
Areas such as marshes or swamps that are covered often intermittently with shallow water or have soil saturated with moisture.
Thebrush rabbit frequents small clearings, where they feed on a variety of vegetation. They feed upon native and non-native grasses and herbs like creeping wild rye (Leymus triticoides), non-native peppergrass (Lepidium spp.), mugwort (Artemisia douglasiana), Santa Barbara sedge (Carex barbarae), stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) and gumplant (Grindelia camporum). Particularly during the dry season, when more desirable food plants are unavailable, they also eat a variety of plant material from woody species that include wild rose, blackberry, elderberry, wild grape and oak.
Thebrush rabbit is a medium to small cottontail rabbit. Its body color varies from dark brown to gray, with a white belly. When viewed from above, its cheeks protrude outward rather than being straight or concave, as in the other brush rabbit subspecies. The riparian brush rabbit can be distinguished from desert cottontails by their smaller tail and uniformly colored ears, being that they do not have black tips.
Length: 11 to 13 in (300 to 375 mm)
Weight: 1 to 2 lbs (500 to 800 gm)
Brown and white with a fuzzy cottontail.
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