Pest: Rabbit (Lepus californicus, Sylvilagus audubonii, Sylvilagus bachmani)

Pest Type: Vertebrate Pests

Major Identifying Features: 

Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus): 3-7 pounds, 17-21 inches, grayish-brown, long black-tipped ears, long front and hind legs, top of tail is black


Desert cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii): small size, short ears, 12-15 inches long, 1.5-2.75 pounds, pale gray fur with yellow tints


Brush rabbit (S. bachmani): small size, short ears, 11-13 inches long, 1.25-1.8 pounds, brown fur


Life Cycle: Jackrabbits live in open or semi-open areas of California’s valleys and foothills, adapted to urban areas, breeding season runs from January through August, litter average is 2-3 young, can have 5-6 litters per year, feed on green plants, young are born with fur and can move after they are born

Brush rabbit and desert cottontail inhabit places with dense cover such as brushy areas, or places with piles of rocks, use open areas at night and hide during the day, they do not travel as much as jackrabbits, breeding season is between December and June, average litter is 3-4 young, can have up to 6 litters per year, young are furless and remain in nest several weeks after birth, feed on grasses, herbaceous plants, trees, blackberries, roses, clover

Pest Rating: Moderate

Management Rating: Moderate

Host/Season/Outbreak Information: All rabbits are active all year round

Damage Information: Rabbits damage beans, beet, broccoli, carrot, lettuce, peas, almond, apple, blackberry, cherry, citrus, pistachio, plum, raspberry, strawberry, cilantro, parsley, various flowers, shrubs, trees, turf, damage occurs close to the ground, they gnaw smooth thin bark from young trees, rabbits can carry diseases such as tularemia and rabbit fever

Management Options: Rabbits can be controlled with any legal means. Physical control by trapping or catch and release, and underground fencing, trunk guards, chemical control with repellents and toxic baits, control habitats by removing hiding places




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