A small animal with large ears (rabbit) in the bushes
Desert Cottontail


Here at Devils Tower you see life in unexpected places. Whether it is a Mountain cottontail nibbling on grass next to the Tower trail, or having a rabbit cross the road in front of your car, seeing these small creatures never fails to put a smile on your face.

Rabbits (Legomorpha)

Desert cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii)

Mountain cottontail (Sylvilagus nuttallii)

White-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus townsendii)

A small rabbit crouched on the ground
Mountain Cottontail

NPS/Stephanie Carter

Mountain cottontail (Sylvilagus nuttallii)

Quick facts:

•Mountain Cottontails are medium sized rabbits with long hind legs and large bushy tail. The body is grayish tan with a white underbelly. The legs have a reddish tone to them.
•The ears of the Mountain Cottontail are relatively small for their species with black tips.
•They range in size from 14 to 15 inches in length and 2 to 3 lbs.
•The cottontail inhabits brushy or wooded areas on slopes or riverbanks that are often covered with grasses, willows, and most importantly, sagebrush. You may see the cottontail almost anywhere in the park, from the Tower Trail to the flat plains of the prairie dog town.
•The cottontail eats grasses, but may eat sagebrush, Juniper and Juniper berries when food is scarce.
•Mountain Cottontails are most active during the dawn and dusk hours.
•Breeding season for cottontails is between March and July. The kits are born 30 days later in litters of up to 8.

Also found at Devils Tower National Monument:

•Desert cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii) –Very similar to the Mountain Cottontail but with larger ears and legs, and there is less noticeable hair within the ears.
•White-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus townsendii) -Jackrabbits are very rare at Devils Tower. They are known for their long prominent black tipped ears on top of their head and large legs, they also have a longer face than the cottontails.

Last updated: May 8, 2019

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