The Eastern cottontail is the wild species of rabbit found in DC. They are solitary herbivores whose droppings help fertilize the soil. Eastern cottontails are crepuscular, meaning that they are active at dawn and dusk. They tend to have litters of three to six. The mother houses her litter in a shallow burrow in the ground that is covered with fur and grass. The mother only visits her babies at dawn and dusk to prevent attracting predators.
If you find a nest that is intact and houses healthy babies, do not intervene. In order to ensure that the babies are not orphaned, place sticks in a crisscross pattern over the top of the nest. If the sticks are displaced, that means that the mother has visited. However, if the nest has been undisturbed for more than twelve hours, contact us at 202-882-1000.