DEEP: Cottontail Rabbit Study

Radio-collared Cottontail Rabbits Being Followed
Adapted from an article that appeared in the May/June 2002 issue of  Connecticut Wildlife.

{Biologist holding radio-collared cottontail.}
Biologist holding radio-collared cottontail.


A comprehensive study on cottontail rabbits was initiated in Connecticut in January 2002. The objective of the study is to assess movements, home range use, habitat needs, survival and causes of mortality of both the New England (NEC) and Eastern cottontail (EC) rabbits in Connecticut. The study was initiated because of concern that New England cottontail populations may be declining throughout this region.

From January to March, 2002, 22 cottontails (6 NEC and 16 EC) were live-captured in box traps and fitted with radio collars and eartags. Biologists are using radio telemetry to locate the radio-collared rabbits eight times each week during both day and night. The data collected from the radio telemetry research will help biologists determine the seasonal movements and habitat needs of both species. Each radio collar is also fitted with a mortality sensor. If a rabbit is motionless for four hours, the mortality sensor will be triggered and researchers can locate the rabbit to determine the cause of death. 

{CT Income Tax Checkoff logo} This project made possible by  grants from the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program and the Connecticut Income Tax Checkoff Fund.