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Home Range and Survival of Cottontail Rabbits in Southwestern Wisconsin

Tracey T. Trent and Orrin J. Rongstad
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 38, No. 3 (Jul., 1974), pp. 459-472
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3800877
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3800877
Page Count: 14
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Home Range and Survival of Cottontail Rabbits in Southwestern Wisconsin
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Abstract

Home range and survival were determined for cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus) living in woodlots in southwestern Wisconsin. Home ranges were determined for 25 radio-tagged cottontail rabbits in a 14-acre (5.7-ha) woodlot where fall densities were 3.6 rabbits per acre (0.4 ha). Home range size varied by season, sex, and individual. Adult male home ranges increased from a mean of 6.8 acres (2.8 ha) in spring to a mean of 9.9 acres (4.0 ha) in early summer, then decreased significantly to a mean of 3.8 acres (1.5 ha) in late summer. This decrease coincided with testes regression. Adult female home ranges were largest (mean = 4.3 acres [1.7 ha]) in spring, then decreased significantly to a mean of 2.1 acres (0.8 ha) in early summer and remained about this size until mid-January. Female home ranges did not overlap in late summer. Between mid-September and mid-November the home ranges of four juveniles did not differ in size from 10 adults which showed no difference according to sex. Retreats (holes, woodpiles, junkpiles) were used as daytime resting locations mostly during periods of snow cover. Less than 8 percent of daytime resting locations occurred in agricultural land. Bimonthly survival rates determined radiotelemetrically for 51 cottontails were 0.77, 0.79, 0.94, 0.80, 0.68, and 0.63 for 2-month periods beginning in March, May, July, September, November, and January, respectively. Annual survival calculated from the bimonthly rates was 0.20; mean annual survival determined demographically was 0.15. Cottontail survival appeared to be related to exposure in insecure cover.

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