Desert Cottontails

Desert Cottontail, Sylvilagus audubonii
William R. Mason Regional Park, 2008-07-07

These rabbits are all over Orange County. It took me a while to ID them though.
At first I thought they might be released pets like the rabbits back home in Prospect Park, but apparently they’re native. Despite the name, they seem to do quite well in local well-irrigated suburban parks, subdivisions, and chaparral.

The key fieldmark by which you can recognize them is the rufous fur on the back of the neck and the forelegs. The tail also shows a dark patch which isn’t present in an Eastern Cottontail or a Brush Rabbit, but that’s not always obvious if they have their tail tucked up as they usually do.

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