Rehabilitating infant eastern cottontails (Sylvilagus floridanus): a robust scoping review of the relevant literature published in Canada and the United States


  • Pauline A. L. Kosmal Department of Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario
  • Sherri Cox Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario; and National Wildlife Centre, Caledon East, Ontario
  • Wendy Pearson Department of Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario
  • Trevor DeVries Department of Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario
  • Shoshanah Jacobs Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario



Eastern cottontail, review, sylvilagus, wildlife rehabilitation


The objective of this review is to describe the current available literature on rehabilitated eastern cottontails (Sylvilagus floridanus) in Canada and the United States to determine gaps in our knowledge, how the state of available literature compares to other wildlife species, and what aspects of rehabilitative care are covered. To meet the objectives, eligible sources must have included eastern cottontails that have entered rehabilitation. Thirty-six articles from 31 different authors were within the inclusion and outside the exclusion criteria for analysis. Results show a lack of information related to eastern cottontails in 80% (4/5) of categories and significant variation in protocols, with most being related to feeding. The lack of published scientific literature and protocol variation could be contributing to knowledge gaps within the field of rehabilitation.


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Author Biographies

Pauline A. L. Kosmal, Department of Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario

Pauline Kosmal, MSc is a PhD student studying infant eastern cottontail survival and welfare. She is committed to improving rehabilitative practices and bridging the gap between the scientific and rehabilitative community. NWRA committee member. 

Sherri Cox, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario; and National Wildlife Centre, Caledon East, Ontario

Sherri Cox, PhD, DVM is an adjunct professor in the department of Integrative Biology and Medical Director at the National Wildlife Centre. She is a licensed wildlife veterinarian and NWRA board member.

Wendy Pearson, Department of Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario

Wendy Pearson, PhD is an associate professor and the graduate coordinator in the department of Animal Biosciences. Her main research focus is treating inflammatory diseases in horses and has a broad interest in all aspects of animal health and welfare. Wendy is also partnered with the Canadian Society of Animal Science.

Trevor DeVries, Department of Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario

Trevor DeVries, PhD is an associate professor in the department of Animal Biosciences. He is an applied researcher in the field of animal welfare, with a focus on dairy cattle. Trevor is partnered with the International Society for Applied Ethology and the Canadian Society of Animal Science.

Shoshanah Jacobs, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario

Shoshanah Jacobs, PhD is an associate professor and the graduate coordinator in the department of Integrative Biology. They have broad research interests and enjoy taking mixed method approaches to answer questions.


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How to Cite

Kosmal, P. A. L., Cox, S., Pearson, W., DeVries, T., & Jacobs, S. (2023). Rehabilitating infant eastern cottontails (Sylvilagus floridanus): a robust scoping review of the relevant literature published in Canada and the United States. Wildlife Rehabilitation Bulletin, 41(1), 13–26.



Original Articles