Swamp rabbit

The swamp rabbit (Sylvilagus aquaticus), or swamp hare,[3] is a large cottontail rabbit found in the swamps and wetlands of the southern United States. Other common names for the swamp rabbit include marsh rabbit and cane-cutter. The species has a strong preference for wet areas, and it will take to the water and swim.[4]

Swamp rabbit[1]
Swamp Rabbit (Sylvilagus aquaticus)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Lagomorpha
Family: Leporidae
Genus: Sylvilagus
S. aquaticus
Binomial name
Sylvilagus aquaticus
(Bachman, 1837)
Swamp Rabbit area
Swamp rabbit range

Range and habitat

The swamp rabbit is found in much of the south-central United States and along the Gulf coast.[5] It is most abundant in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, but also inhabits South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, and Georgia.[5]

Swamp rabbits mainly live close to lowland water, often in cypress swamps, marshland, floodplain, and river tributaries.[5] Swamp rabbits spend much of their time in depressions which they dig in tall grass or leaves, providing cover while they wait until the nighttime to forage.[5]

There is concern that swamp rabbits are increasingly becoming exposed to predation, especially during snowy/wintry seasons. Snow cover has shown to increase swamp rabbit mortality by almost two times in the northern extent of their range. This is due mostly to the fact that snow cover constrains hiding ability and availability of food resources.[6]

Physical description

S. aquaticus is the largest of the cottontail species, although its ears are smaller than of other cottontails.[5] Males are slightly larger than females.[5] The head and back are typically dark or rusty brown or black, while the throat, ventral surface, and tail are white, and there is a cinnamon-colored ring around the eye.[5] Their sides, rump, tail and feet are much more brownish, along with a pinkish-cinnamon eye-ring, as opposed to the whitish eye-ring in eastern cottontails.[4]

S. aquaticus males vary in weight from approximately 4 lb (1.8 kg) to 5.6 lb (2.5 kg), with an average of about 5 lb (2.3 kg); females vary from approx. 3.6 lb (1.6 kg) to 5.9 lb (2.7 kg), averaging about 4.8 lb (2.2 kg). S. aquaticus ranges in length from approx. 17.8 inches (45 cm) to 21.7 in (55 cm), with an average length of about 19.7 in (50 cm).[5]


Known predators of Sylvilagus aquaticus are domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris), American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis), and humans (Homo sapiens).[5] Even though their swimming abilities lack the speed to escape a pack of hunting dogs, swamp rabbits elude pursuers by lying still in the water surrounded by brush or plant debris with only their nose visible.[4] The species is hunted for fur, meat, and sport, and is the second-most commonly hunted rabbit in the United States.[5] Swamp rabbits have several adaptations to avoid predators: cryptic coloration, "freezing", and rapid, irregular jumping patterns.[5]

Ontogeny and reproduction

S. aquaticus are synchronous breeders. Females give birth to altricial young. Young are born with well-developed fur but their eyes are closed and they are immobile. Their eyes have opened by day 3 and the young have begun walking. They are weaned and leave the nest after about 15 days. Young are sexually mature at 7 months and reach adult weight at 10 months.[7] The nests in which the young are born consist of a slight depression in the earth that is filled with grasses mixed with rabbit hair.[4]

Breeding season varies widely across the range of S. aquaticus, usually occurring anywhere between February and August, but can occur year-round in Texas. Spermatogenesis has been noted to occur in S. aquaticus in Missouri in October and November. In a Mississippi study, groups of males harvested in December and February had higher percentages of individuals with descended testes than those harvested in any other months (Class 2006). S. aquaticus exhibit induced ovulation and have an hour-long estrus. The gestation period lasts 35 to 40 days. Females can have 1 to 3 litters a year with each litter consisting of 4 to 6 young. The occurrence of embryo resorption has been seen in S. aquaticus; this loss of in-utero litters is attributed to some type of habitat disturbance such as flooding, which may cause overcrowding to occur.[7]


Swamp rabbits are herbivorous; they eat a variety of foraged plants, including grasses, sedges, shrubs, tree bark seedlings, and twigs.[5] They feed mainly at night but rain showers will often cause them to feed during daytime as well.[4] A study has found that the preferred foods of S. aquaticus are savannah panicgrass (Phanopyrum gymnocarpon), false nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica), dewberry (Rubus sieboldii) and greenbrier (Smilax bona-nox).[5]

Like other lagomorphs, they have a double digestion. Food passes through their gut twice, first producing soft, green feces (cecotropes) which still contain nutrients. These are eaten by the animal (coprophagy), and after further digestion the remains form drier, dark brown or black hard pellets, which are not eaten.[5]

Species competition

Rival males will often engage in aggressive encounters that sometimes become violent enough to kill one of the combatants. When fighting, males will stand on their hind legs and use their teeth and claws to inflict wounds on their opponent. They will also jump from the ground and strike with the sharp claws of the hind feet.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Hoffman, R.S.; Smith, A.T. (2005). "Order Lagomorpha". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 207–8. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ Smith, A.T. & Boyer, A.F. (2008). "Sylvilagus aquaticus". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2008: e.T41296A10417240. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T41296A10417240.en. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  3. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Swamp Hare" . New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Reed, Don (September 2008). "Wildlife Species Profile Swamp Rabbit (Sylvilagus aquaticus)" (PDF). Louisiana Wildlife News (5). Louisiana State University Agricultural Center. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Sylvilagus aquaticus (swamp rabbit), Animal Diversity Web, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology.
  6. ^ Hillard, Elizabeth M., et al. “Winter Snow Cover Increases Swamp Rabbit (Sylvilagus Aquaticus) Mortality at the Northern Extent of Their Range.” Mammalian Biology, vol. 93, 2018, pp. 93–96., doi:10.1016/j.mambio.2018.09.001.
  7. ^ a b Courtney, Emily M. (5 September 2008). "Swamp rabbit ( Sylvilagus aquaticus )" (PDF). Mammals in Mississippi (3). Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Mississippi State University. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
Blackville, Alston and Newberry Railroad

The Blackville, Alston and Newberry Railroad was a railroad that served South Carolina in the latter part of the 19th century.

The original intent of the Blackville, Alston and Newberry was for development of kaolin clay mines in Aiken County. With the Blackville, Alston and Newberry, the white clay, used in the production of porcelain and papermaking, could be transferred at Blackville to the South Carolina and Georgia Railroad, and onto outside markets.Construction started in Blackville about 1886 and a line was completed to Sievern in 1888.While the kaolin mining venture did not pan out immediately, the new railroad lifted the area's turpentine and pine lumber industries. Cotton, asparagus and watermelon growers also did extremely well, with the Blackville, Alston and Newberry helping the region enjoy economic prosperity.In 1891, the Carolina Midland Railway acquired the Blackville, Alston and Newberry's Perry-to-Blackville line, consolidating it with the recently acquired Barnwell Railway.In 1895, the Blackville, Alston and Newberry declared bankruptcy.

Cleveland Park (Greenville, South Carolina)

Cleveland Park is the largest park in Greenville, South Carolina, much of its more than 120 acres being greenway along Richland Creek and the Reedy River near the city's "most elegant neighborhoods."On December 31, 1924, with encouragement from Greenville Park Commission chairman John Alexander McPherson, prominent Greenvillean William Choice Cleveland donated a crescent-shaped 110 acres on the southeast side of town to be used as a park and playground, a recreational area he hoped would compliment his new housing development, Cleveland Forest, and would include an equestrian park and paddocks where residents could board their horses. (Stables managed by private owners existed adjacent to the park until they were demolished in 2014.) In 1925, the city of Greenville created two baseball fields, a horse ring, and a playground, and the park officially opened on January 1, 1926.By 1928, during the administration of Mayor Richard Watson, when a $110,000 bond issue to develop the park was approved, the park was surveyed at 126 acres. Land around the river was boggy and prone to flooding, a deficiency partially remedied during the Great Depression when the WPA channelized the river bed, greatly improving drainage.In its earliest years the park included a Girl Scout meeting place and a nine-hole public golf course, built and abandoned in the 1930s. A swimming pool and skating rink were added in 1929; but in 1964, during the Civil Rights Movement, the whites-only pool was closed to prevent it from being integrated. First a sea lion exhibit replaced the pool, then a rose garden; finally in 1988, tennis courts replaced both garden and skating rink.In 1930, the Greenville Garden Club began to renovate a Civil-War era rock quarry into the Rock Quarry Garden. The garden won a Better Homes and Gardens award in 1932; but by the 1960s, it was neglected and overgrown. Another renovation project revitalized the garden in the 1980s, and in the 21st century, the Rock Quarry Garden became a popular wedding and reception venue.In the 21st century, the park, now adjacent to the Greenville Zoo, included a softball field, volleyball and tennis courts, several playgrounds, a Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and eight picnic shelters. The Swamp Rabbit Trail runs through the park, and it also includes the Fernwood Nature Trail, the Ramona Graham Fitness Trail, and the Troop 19 Trail. A distinctive landmark is the memorial to Rudolf Anderson, a Greenville native shot down over Cuba in October 1962, the only American casualty of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Anderson memorial features an F-86 Sabre and panels explaining Anderson's life and mission.

Cliffside Railroad

Cliffside Railroad was a Class III railroad operating freight service in southwestern North Carolina from 1905 until service ended in 1987. The line was formally abandoned in 1992.

Cottontail rabbit

Cottontail rabbits are among the 20 lagomorph species in the genus Sylvilagus, found in the Americas. Most cottontails closely resemble the wild European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Most Sylvilagus species have stub tails with white undersides that show when they retreat, giving them their characteristic name. However, this feature is not present in all cottontails nor is it unique to the genus. For example, the European rabbit also has a white tail, and the underside of the brush rabbit's tail is blue.

The genus is widely distributed across North America, Central America and northern and central South America, though most species are confined to particular regions. Most (though not all) species live in nests called forms, and all have altricial young. An adult female averages three litters per year, which can occur in any season; occurrence, and litter size depend on several factors including time of the year, weather, and location. The average litter size is four but can range from as few as two to as many as eight, most of whom do not go on to survive to adulthood.

Cottontail rabbits show a greater resistance to myxomatosis than European rabbits.

Gansu pika

The Gansu pika (Ochotona cansus) is a species of mammal in the pika family, Ochotonidae. It is endemic to China.

Granada hare

The Granada hare (Lepus granatensis), also known as the Iberian hare, is a hare species that can be found on the Iberian Peninsula and on the island of Majorca.

Hainan hare

The Hainan hare (Lepus hainanus) is a species of hare endemic to Hainan Island, China.

Jimmy Carter rabbit incident

The Jimmy Carter rabbit incident, dubbed the "killer rabbit" attack by the press, involved a swamp rabbit that swam toward then–U.S. President Jimmy Carter's fishing boat on April 20, 1979. The incident caught the imagination of the media after Carter's press secretary mentioned the event to a correspondent months later.

Killer rabbit

Killer rabbit may refer to:

Rabbit of Caerbannog, a fictional beast from the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Jimmy Carter rabbit incident, a 1979 incident involving a swamp rabbit trying to board President Jimmy Carter's fishing boat

The creatures from the 1972 horror film Night of the Lepus

Koslov's pika

Koslov's pika or Kozlov's pika (Ochotona koslowi) is a species of mammal in the family Ochotonidae. It is endemic to China. Its natural habitat is tundra. It is threatened by habitat loss.


Leporidae is the family of rabbits and hares, containing over 60 species of extant mammals in all. The Latin word Leporidae means "those that resemble lepus" (hare). Together with the pikas, the Leporidae constitute the mammalian order Lagomorpha. Leporidae differ from pikas in that they have short, furry tails and elongated ears and hind legs.

The common name "rabbit" usually applies to all genera in the family except Lepus, while members of Lepus (almost half the species) usually are called hares. Like most common names however, the distinction does not match current taxonomy completely; jackrabbits are members of Lepus, and members of the genera Pronolagus and Caprolagus sometimes are called hares.

Various countries across all continents except Antarctica and Australia have indigenous species of Leporidae. Furthermore, rabbits, most significantly the European rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus, also have been introduced to most of Oceania and to many other islands, where they pose serious ecological and commercial threats.

Manzano Mountain cottontail

The Manzano mountain cottontail (Sylvilagus cognatus) is a species of cottontail rabbit endemic to the Manzano Mountains in New Mexico, United States. It occurs in coniferous forests in high elevation. It was previously thought to be a subspecies of the Eastern cottontail.

Marsh rabbit

The marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris) is a small cottontail rabbit found in marshes and swamps of coastal regions of the Eastern and Southern United States. It is a strong swimmer and found only near regions of water. It is similar in appearance to the eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) but is characterized by smaller ears, legs, and tail.

Muli pika

The Muli pika (Ochotona muliensis) is a species of mammal in the family Ochotonidae. It is endemic to China. Its natural habitat is temperate grassland. It is threatened by habitat loss.

It is a rarely found, one of the six pika species endemic to central China, with no true population studies.

Nubra pika

The Nubra pika (Ochotona nubrica) is a species of mammal of the pika family, Ochotonidae. It is found in Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan.

Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is one of seven refuges in the Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Mississippi. Established in 1978, Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 38,697 acres (156.60 km2). Included in those acres is one of the largest blocks (21,000 acres) of bottomland forest in the lower Mississippi River alluvial floodplain. The upland areas or ridges often crest at no more than one foot above swamp areas, and contain nuttall, willow and water oaks and other species while overcup oak, bitter pecan and ash dominate the transition zone from swamp to upland. Additional habitat types consist of reforested and agricultural areas.

In addition to providing resting and feeding areas for over 100,000 wintering waterfowl annually, the refuge also provides habitat for 200 species of neotropical migratory songbirds. Resident species making their home among the woodlands, sloughs, and reforested areas include the American alligator, white-tail deer, otter, swamp rabbit, wild turkey, squirrel, and other various small fur-bearers such as mink and raccoon.


Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha (along with the hare and the pika). Oryctolagus cuniculus includes the European rabbit species and its descendants, the world's 305 breeds of domestic rabbit. Sylvilagus includes 13 wild rabbit species, among them the 7 types of cottontail. The European rabbit, which has been introduced on every continent except Antarctica, is familiar throughout the world as a wild prey animal and as a domesticated form of livestock and pet. With its widespread effect on ecologies and cultures, the rabbit (or bunny) is, in many areas of the world, a part of daily life—as food, clothing, a companion, and as a source of artistic inspiration.

Swamp Rabbit Trail

The Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail is a 19.9-mile (32.0 km) multi-use rail trail in Greenville County, South Carolina, that largely follows the bed of a former railroad that had been nicknamed after the indigenous swamp rabbit. South-to-north the current trail begins at Greenville Technical College, crosses the city of Greenville, proceeds through Falls Park and the campus of Furman University, and ends about a mile north of the Travelers Rest city limits.

Turuchan pika

The Turuchan pika (Ochotona turuchanensis) is a species of pika found in isolated regions in the Central Siberian Plateau. It is a small (16–19 cm) rock dwelling species that is active during the day due to the low temperature at night. It was previously thought to be a subspecies of the northern pika. Little is known about this species, but is known to be locally abundant.

Extant Lagomorpha species

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