A knowledge of the home range and movements of the cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) is one of the most important prerequisites for estimating effectively its numbers and managing its populations. By comparing results obtained from different methods, previously used, for determining the size of the home range I have attempted to develop a more valid procedure.
or bark of trees and shrubs and for fallen fruits of trees. Ninety-two per cent of all fecal pellets found in grassland were within 40 feet of cover suitable for cottontails.
Movements made by the cottontail while foraging appear aimless; typical behavior consists of progression with a hesitant gait of two or three hops, a stop to eat, another series of hops and another stop. Footprints made by this movement are about 12 inches apart. With occasional spurts of hopping the individual moves perhaps ten to twelve feet where it stops and begins to eat again. The area in which the individual forages is usually elongated with its long axis parallel to the edge except in areas of uniform habitat (such as large patches of coralberry) where the area covered tends to be more nearly circular. Cottontails observed foraging were estimated to utilize 10 to 20 per cent of the home range area in one evening. Paths or runways are not ordinarily utilized by foraging cottontails.
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