Habitat Preferences of Cottontail Rabbits on an Intensive Farm and a Traditional Farm

Home ranges and habitat preferences of radio-collared cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus) on an intensive farm and a traditional farm were monitored during 1979-81 in eastern Wake County, North Carolina. On the traditional farm, mean home ranges of males (6.37 ha) were larger (P < 0.05) than those offemales (3.15 ha) . On the intensive farm, mean home ranges of males (2.60 ha) were not larger (P > 0.05) than those of females (2.11 ha). Home ranges of males on the traditional farm were larger (P <0.05) than those of males on the intensive farm; however, home ranges of females on the 2 farms were not different (P > 0.05). On both farms, rabbits preferred brush to woodlots with understories, woodlots with negligible understories, and edge, and preferred fields the least. These data indicate that habitat preferences did not change with agricultural practices. Diurnal and nocturnal habitat preferences were similar.

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