The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 37 - 5/11/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
by DeeAnn Price
In mid April of 1996, Jim Kiever was cleaning out the horse barn when he saw movement in the northwest corner. He immediately closed off that stall and left the mother cottontail alone for a few days. When they felt it was alright to check on the warren, Jim and his wife, Dee discovered the new babies (properly called fawns) and watched as they started to overflow the nest. They were amazed to count seventeen youngsters.
Dee called Game and Fish Biologist, Doug McWhirter and he confirmed that that many babies was a record. Twelve babies were once observed in an Eastern cottontail's nest but that type does not reside here. We have the Nuttall's or Mountain cottontail, the Desert or Audubon cottontail and the Pygmy. "All cottontails" said Mr. McWhirter, "average three to five in a litter." Judging from Dee's description of the size of this particular rabbit and the shorter rounded ears, he has surmised that this is a Nuttall's cottontail.
Jim and Dee checked on the new family every day and when the rabbits were over two weeks old and ready to leave the nest, all were still alive and healthy. One member of Kiever family was very glad to see them go. The mother cottontail had chosen old Bullet's favorite stall. Happy Mother's Day! - DeeAnn Price
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