What Do Cottontail Rabbits Eat?

Jim, the Photographer/CC-BY-2.0

Cottontail rabbits are herbivorous animals that will eat nearly any plant or vegetable that they can get. They do not prefer any type of plant compared to others; but they will tend to eat more of certain things, such as grass or bark, depending on the season that it is.

A cottontail rabbit is mostly nocturnal. They forage and eat all of their food mainly during the nighttime hours and will sometimes be seen eating during the day, although it is rare. Most cottontail rabbits eat more than 100 different species of plants during their lifetime. In the summer months, cottontail rabbits prefer to eat mostly grass and weeds. They focus on eating twigs and bark during the winter. This could be due to different nutritional needs that are present during the cold winter months.

Cottontail rabbits are found throughout North America and are among the most common mammals that are found in nearly every area. They simply need small forested areas to live successfully. They can also be found in areas where there is shrubbery. Cottontail rabbits do not hibernate in the same way that many mammals do, so they can be seen outside no matter what time of year it is. A general cottontail lifespan is around one year in the wild.