Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cottontails in the Canyon

When you find a little rabbit in the Sonoran Desert, it's probably the Desert Cottontail Sylvilagus audubonii aka Audubon's Cottontail. They are common at Sabino Canyon and can been seen during early morning hours or at twilight.

They prefer dense shrubby areas that have lots of hiding places. That's probably why I don't see them in my neighborhood, where most of the yards are sparsely landscaped with gravel and a just a few plants.

This young cottontail is posing like a statue. Does it think I can't see it because it's face is partially hidden behind the bush?
It decides to make a zigzag run and...

then it freezes behind a different shrub. But that shadow is a dead give away.
Finally, it hops away to find a better hiding place. Desert cottontails are an important food source for many animals including birds of prey, snakes and coyotes. Unfortunately, most cottontails don't make it past their first year. Bonus image: Here's a picture of my son running at Sabino Canyon. A cottontail happened to be crossing the road as the photo was snapped.

16 comments:

Teri C said...

I was just at Sabino this Sunday and it was so darn hot that I didn't see a thing, hardly even a bird. I did manage a few sketches that I will post tomorrow.

I love your cottontail photos and I admire anyone that can run there!

Teri C said...

Oops I mean I will post them on Thursday.

deedee said...

I never seen any rabbits where I live. I do see them when I visit my Mom. A golf course runs through her neighborhood and so do the rabbits AND the coyotes! Your pictures are adorable.

IcyCucky said...

Your photos and information on cottontails are excellent! I love it!

Arvind said...

Bunnnieeeezzzzz!!!!!111!!!

Julie said...

Great shots! LOVE the one with the shadow! ;) I just love the bunnies. Even the one I caught eating my rose bush to death. Diane, have you ever seen the bunnies fight? It's just what you'd imagine: leaping into the air at each other, little paws batting at each other. Then they run away from each other. It took me a while to realize what was going on.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Cute pictures of the Bunnies, Diane... We have wild rabbits around here--and they can be a nuisance. Last year, their babies ate our Impatiens... About drove me crazy!!!! But--aren't they cute????
Hugs,
Betsy

LisaNewton said...

Love the shots, especially the long earred shadow.

BTW, what do the rabbits eat in the desert?

Natural Moments said...

There is so much to see in the desert. I love the rabbits. We have what we call brush rabbits here in this northwestern locale.

Gaelyn said...

I just love those little cottontails. They come out of the edge of the brush next to the wash and freeze like a sculpture at the slightest noise or motion. Lucky to get photos.

lizzie said...

Lovely! I enjoyed the pics and the info.

Diane C. said...

Hi dear readers, thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed the bunny pictures.

@Teri I find the most critters early morning or evening. When it's hot out, I focus on cacti and landscape views, and I'm starting to take more pictures of visitors.

@LisaNewton Our desert rabbits usually end up eating cacti, twigs and mesquite beans when they can't find grass or forbs to eat. Thanks for asking :)

Dee said...

Oh he is a cute little bunny! I hope he stays out of my newly planted veggie patch though! :)

Glynis said...

It's a good job they are not here in Cyprus, they would be in the pot by now, the hunters would love them! They are so cute.

Denise said...

Fantastic! I saw a beautiful rabbit at the Grand Canyone a couple of years back. I wonder if it was the same kind? He sure was cute and so is this one. Great series of photographs. Nice capture in the last shot with your son and the rabbit running across the road and all those cacti, wow! Loved learning about this adorable bunny. Thank you.

Tess said...

wow! beautiful series of shots. I love the view of the last photo.