Offering a variety of habitat ranging from mature forest to open pasture, the Gettysburg National Military Park is home to many species of animals including amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds. This post focuses on the park’s eastern cottontails.
The eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) is a New World cottontail rabbit. The eastern cottontail is chunky and red-brown or gray-brown in appearance with large hind feet, long ears and a short fluffy white tail. They serve as an important food source for many of the park’s predators, including the raptors and foxes. Cottontails may comprise nearly 50 percent of the fox diet for example.
Best Places to See Them: These rabbits can easily be seen all over the battlefield, especially in the spring and summer. This particular cottontail was photographed at the Peach Orchard. Optimal eastern cottontail habitat includes open grassy areas, clearings, and old fields supporting abundant green grasses and herbs, with shrubs in the area or edges for cover, which obviously well describes much of the Gettysburg National Military Park!