The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) have recently confirmed sightings of eastern cottontail rabbits on Badger’s Island. Eastern cottontails are a non-native species that can pose a threat to our native cottontail rabbit, the New England cottontail. The New England cottontail is currently a State Endangered species that can also be found in Kittery, although not within Kittery Foreside at this time. The population of eastern cottontails found on Badger’s Island is the first confirmed population of the species in Maine.
The MDIFW is seeking the public’s help in identifying areas where eastern cottontails may be located in an attempt to determine the extent of the population and the threat it may pose to our native cottontails.
Eastern cottontails look very similar to New England cottontails with the same shorter ears, feet and face, although Eastern cottontails have a distinctive white patch on their forehead. Unlike Maine’s other native “rabbit” the snowshoe hare, the eastern cottontail will stay brown all year long. They tend to occur in residential areas, including lawns where both of the other native rabbits are unlikely to be.
If you see any rabbits occurring around your home or property, please contact:
Cory R. Stearns
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Assistant Regional WIldlife Biologist
15 Game Farm Road
Gray, ME 04039
Phone: (207) 657-5759