The Eastern Cottontail, Syivilagus floridanus, is the most widely distributed of the rabbits and hares. Best known for its short, fluffy tail which is cottony-white below, the cottontail is grayish-brown above, with white underparts and feet. Its nape is rust-colored. Most active between sunset and dawn, it feeds on plant material. During the day, the cottontail conceals itself in shallow depressions in protected areas called "forms." In Rookery Bay Reserve, it is seen in the scrub, pine flatwoods, and open grassy areas, and is a common visitor to the grounds of the Environmental Learning Center. Its cousin, the marsh rabbit, is darker and has shorter ears than the cottontail, and is more commonly associated with wetland habitats both fresh and salt.
Click below to watch a video of a cottontail rabbit foraging in the courtyard at the Environmental Learning Center.