Desert Cottontail

Unlike “desert daisy,” which is descriptive but incorrect nomenclature for a brittlebush, “desert cottontail” is the proper name for the thing it seems to be: a bunny with a fluffy white butt.

I’m amused by their various strategies for responding to my presence on the walking trails. Some scamper off as soon as they see me. Some freeze in place until I’m past. Some freeze in place until I pause, and then they scamper off. Some hide under bushes; some turn their backs on me — “If I can’t see you, you can’t see me?” — but exposing that attention-getting white butt.

I don’t know which strategy works best, but collectively they’re doing something right. They’re everywhere down here: in the desert proper, in desert-like parks, in neighbourhood parks, and in the washes snaking through the city.

And some of them have time for Pilates.

2-photo collage of desert cottontails


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11 Responses to Desert Cottontail

  1. Cute!
    I’ve noticed on walks that crawly things like spiders, when they sense my presence, freeze in place for exactly 42 seconds and then move on. I’ve counted again and again.

  2. Marion says:

    We have a lot of desert cottontails around our place here in Tucson Estates as well. We also have couple of coyotes who stroll through the neighbourhood regularly, so … circle of life, I guess. They all look healthy.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Marion – I’ve heard tell of coyotes in the Wash, but have never seen one. Based on casual observation, I’d say the rabbits are outpacing the coyotes: they (the bunnies) are everywhere.

  3. Judith Umbach says:

    Hmmm. Maybe they are the desert equivalent of squirrels.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Judith – You could be right. I checked to see if they’re rodents — they’re not — but maybe they hold down a similar ecological niche.

  4. Once again, it’s the camouflage that astounds me. I still don’t know what to call the effect after an eye-dazzling hour of looking at holograms and optical illusions for a word that escapes me, but those bunnies do it.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – They are certainly well matched to their environment. To adapt a Biblical quote, “the camouflaged and the dead.”

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