Haley Andreozzi, UNH Cooperative Extension: (603) 862-5327, email@example.com
Heidi Holman, NHFG: (603) 271-3018
March 15, 2019
DURHAM, NH – Set your sights on real rabbits this spring! It’s nesting season for Granite State rabbits, and that means the time is right to submit your rabbit sightings to NH Rabbit Reports at nhrabbitreports.org.
NH Rabbit Reports is a citizen science project sponsored by UNH Cooperative Extension and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, with support from the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire. The project collects sighting information, including data and photos, to help researchers better understand the distribution and potential abundance of rabbit species in New Hampshire.
Spring is a good time to look for rabbits. As the snow melts and plants begin greening, rabbits are active. Female rabbits nest in the spring, and that means you’re more likely to see rabbits in your backyard, around your neighborhood, or during an outdoor adventure.
“Submitting rabbit sightings to NH Rabbit Reports is a great way for homeowners, natural resource professionals, and nature lovers to get into the spirit of the season and reconnect with the outdoors after a long winter,” says Haley Andreozzi, Wildlife Outreach Manager for UNH Cooperative Extension and a NH Rabbit Reports team member. “Every submission delivers valuable information.”
Welcome the start of spring by using your smartphone or computer to report sightings and help rabbits. Species identification skills aren’t required. All you need to record is the date, time, and location of the sighting and a description of where you saw the rabbit – and, if you’re fast enough, a photo of the rabbit. “Photos aren’t required, but they greatly increase the usefulness of sighting information,” Andreozzi says.
New Hampshire is home to two species of rabbits, the eastern cottontail and the New England cottontail, as well as one species of hare, the snowshoe hare. One of the major differences between New England cottontails and eastern cottontails is their habitat requirements. Eastern cottontails are able to survive in human-dominated fragmented habitats, including open fields, forest edges, small thickets, and even golf courses and suburban lawns. New England cottontails, however, rely on dense thickets for their habitat needs and rarely venture far from protective cover.
NH Fish and Game coordinates a comprehensive effort to survey for the presence of the state-endangered New England cottontail, but less is known about where and in what numbers eastern cottontails are found in the state. “Data collected by NH Rabbit Reports provides us with valuable information on the state’s rabbit population and informs our conservation efforts. Every report helps.” said Heidi Holman, a wildlife biologist who coordinates N.H. Fish and Game’s New England cottontail restoration effort.