Surrogate Parenting and Developmental Stages of Newborn Western Desert Cottontails (Sylvilagus audubonii) and a Black–tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) Nursed by a Western Desert Cottontail
Keywords:Cottontail, western desert cottontail, black-tailed jackrabbit, surrogate, nursing, lagomorph
During the summer of 2005, the authors had an unusual opportunity to observe, document, and photograph a surrogate nursing western desert cottontail as she raised several litters of orphaned western desert cottontails and, to the authors’ surprise, a newborn orphaned black–tailed jackrabbit. Given the extent to which adult cottontails usually go to avoid any exposure to humans, the authors were surprised by this adult cottontail’s response. This opportunity opened an amazing window into the interactions and displays that can exist between a surrogate mother rabbit and foster young. This adult also helped clarify the sequence of nursing and separation behaviors that may occur in the wild. This article attempts to fill in a few of the pieces missing in our knowledge about these animals, both descriptively and pictorially.
Fender, S., and B. Stone. 1984. Rehabilitation Notes: Black–tailed Hare/Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus). Wildlife Journal. 7(1):7–9.
Hiss, A. B. 1988. Rehabilitation Notes: Cottontails: (Sylvilagus floridanus). Wildlife Journal. 11(2):7–12.
Kenyon, L. R. 2000. Diarrhea–free: Successful Wild Baby Rabbit Care/Rehabilitation: Part I and II. [article on the internet]. Available from:<http://www.squirrelworld.com/RabRehab.html>.
Reese, E. 1994. Orphaned Eastern Cottontail Care. The NWRA Quarterly. 12(3):1–5.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2006 National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association (NWRA)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
The copyright for articles in this journal is retained by the author(s), with first publication rights granted to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Bulletin and NWRA. Articles published as open-access in this journal are free to use and share with proper attribution in educational and other non-commercial purposes. To obtain reprint permission for articles that are not open access, please contact the journal editor.