Haley Andreozzi, UNH Cooperative Extension: (603) 862-5327
Heidi Holman, NHFG: (603) 271-3018
March 28, 2022
Durham, NH – Set your sights on real bunnies this spring! It’s time to submit your rabbit sightings to NH Rabbit Reports at nhrabbitreports.org.
NH Rabbit Reports is a citizen science project sponsored by the University of New Hampshire’s Cooperative Extension and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, with support from the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire. This project collects your 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 great time to look for rabbits. As the snow melts and plants begin greening, rabbits become far more 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,” said Haley Andreozzi, Wildlife Outreach Manager for UNH Cooperative Extension and a NH Rabbit Reports team member. “Every submission contributes valuable information to the growing database of Granite State rabbit populations, and is a great example of how citizen science contributions can add up to something really big.”
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 value of sighting information,” Andreozzi said.
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 distribution and informs our conservation efforts,” said Heidi Holman, a wildlife biologist who coordinates Fish and Game’s New England cottontail restoration effort. “Every report helps.”