Distribution and Habitat of Appalachian Cottontails in Kentucky

Of 550 rabbit heads collected from 35 counties in central and eastern Kentucky, 73 (13.3%) were identified as Appalachian cottontails (Sylvilagus obscurus). These collections document the Appalachian cottontail in 20 counties covering a large part of Kentucky and suggest Appalachian cottontails exist throughout the Cumberland Mountains and Cumberland Plateau of the Eastern Coal Field and in portions of the Outer Bluegrass and Knobs physiographic regions. Appalachian cottontails and eastern cottontails (S. floridanus) often were found living sympatrically in early-successional forests. Appalachian cottontails were documented in lower elevations (260 m) and in a wider variety of habitat types than previously believed.

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