The Marsh Rabbit is a small wild rabbit native to the Eastern and Southern United States. As its name implies, it lives in swamps and marshy areas. It is actually quite a strong swimmer.
It looks a lot like the Eastern Cottontail, though they are smaller in size. Adults weigh between 2.2 and 2.6 pounds at maturity.
They have fur that ranges from dark red to a black-brown. The belly fur is brownish-gray, but sometimes it may appear a dull white like Cottontails. The edges of the ears often have small black tufts of fur with an ochre brown on the inside.
Like snowshoe rabbits, they can change color, though not as drastically. In the spring and summer, it can appear a dull grayish buff which turns to the darker color in the fall and winter. Younger rabbits have darker coloring than older rabbits. Unlike cottontails, the underside of the tail is brownish gray rather than white. Some Marsh Rabbits from Florida are completely black.
They have very short ears and legs compared to swamp rabbits. They like to live amongst the cattails and cypress trees of the marshes. They have been seen on sandy islands and mangrove swamps. They tend to hide in dense thickets of briars, magnolia and other thick plants.
These rabbits eat the bulbs and leaves of cattails, grasses and rushes. They have also been known to eat water plants like water hyacinth, amaryllis, wild potato and pennywort. Like other members of the lagomorph family, they eat cecotrophs, the soft feces that appear after the first pass food makes through their systems.
The Marsh Rabbit is nocturnal, spending the day in hiding. They produce up to 6 litters per year and are not considered endangered.
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