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Cottontail rabbit habitat use on delaware wildlife area ohio usa

Cottontail rabbit habitat use on delaware wildlife area ohio usa

Ohio Journal of Science 91(4): 148-153

A radio telemetry study was performed on cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus mearnsii) to quantify cover type use and ifner selections with respect to cover type availability, year, sex- and age-class, time of day, and season. This study recorded 16,785 locations for 62 rabbits from 1981-1983. Briars (Rubus spp., Rosa multiflora) and old field were the two most used types of cover, together comprising more than 50% of locations. Relative to cover type availability, the briars type was the most preferred (P .ltoreq. 0.05). Both types were used heavily during day and night throughout the year, although use of briars was higher during day than night (P .ltoreq. 0.05). Rabbits that had survived a winter and spring spent more time in briars (P .ltoreq. 0.05) and less time in old field (P .ltoreq. 0.05) than those that had not. Implications are that wildlife managers must increase their emphasis on providing briars or other dense woody vegetation to maintain rabbit populations. Based on use percentages, rabbit cover type needs would be better met if percentages of area were: briars, herb-shrub, and cropland-each 25-35%; woodland-0-10%.

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