Mammals - Rabbit-like

Six species of rabbit like mammals can be found in various habitats throughout central Oregon, these include, rabbits, pikas, and hares. These small mammals feed primarily on grasses and forbs, have at least two litters per year, and are usually found where there are good amounts of concealing cover available. All of these species are important food items for prey animals, and constitute the primary food source for many carnivores.

The following rabbit-like mammals are found in Central Oregon:

Black-tailed JackrabbitMountain CottontailPigmy RabbitPika Snowshoe HareWhite-tailed Jackrabbit

Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus)

  • RANGE: Across western and southwestern states, into Baja and northern Mexico.
  • STATUS: Not a protected species.
  • HABITAT: Open prairies and deserts.
  • SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: This species needs areas with minimal disturbance.
  • BREEDING: Litter of 2-4; young born fully furred and with open eyes.
  • FOOD: Green vegetation.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON: Occurs in central Oregon, prevails in the eastern portion of central Oregon
  • REFERENCES: Burt 1952, Cstui et al

Top of page

Mountain Cottontail (Sylvilagus nuttalli)

  • RANGE: Western states.
  • STATUS: Not a protected species
  • HABITAT: Thickets, sagebrush, loose rocks and cliffs; forests in the southwest; mountains.
  • SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Adequate cover to protect this species from predation
  • BREEDING: Litter of 4-6 born April-July.
  • FOOD: Green vegetation in summer, bark and twigs in winter.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON: Found in central Oregon
  • REFERENCES: Burt 1952 Cstui et al

Top of page

Pigmy Rabbit (Sylvilagus idahoensis)

  • RANGE: High desert of Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah.
  • STATUS: Proposed for listing.
  • HABITAT: Tall, clumpy sagebrush.
  • SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Dense clumps of tall big sagebrush, green rabbit brush and loose soil for digging it's extensive burrow system.
  • BREEDING: Litter of 5-8 born June-July.
  • FOOD: Big sagebrush.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON: Found in suitable habitat in Central Oregon
  • REFERENCES: Burt 1952 Cstui et al

Top of page

Pika (Cony) (Ochotona princeps)

  • RANGE: Western North America.
  • STATUS: Not a protected species
  • HABITAT: Talus slopes and rockslides, generally near timberline but down to sea level in the north.
  • SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: The availability of lichen for winter feeding, as the pika does not hibernate is important to this species.
  • BREEDING: Litters of 2-5 born May-June and July-August.
  • FOOD: Grasses and herbs; stores food in small "haypiles" among rocks for winter feeding.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON: Occurs in areas with suitable habitat.
  • REFERENCES: Burt 1952 Cstui et al

Top of page

Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus)

  • RANGE: Coast to coast across Canada, Alaska, and northwestern States.
  • STATUS: Not a protected species
  • HABITAT: Swamps, forests, thickets; mountains in the West.
  • SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Coniferous trees for winter forage.
  • BREEDING: Litters of 2-4 born April - Aug. May be 2-3 litters per year. Young are born furred and with open eyes.
  • FOOD: Green vegetation in summer; twigs, bark and buds in winter.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON: Occurs in mountainous areas of central Oregon
  • REFERENCES: Burt 1952 Cstui et al

Top of page

White-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus townsendi)

  • RANGE: Northern states from eastern Washington, Oregon and California to the Great Lakes; southern Canada.
  • STATUS: Sensitive species in the state of Oregon.
  • HABITAT: Grassy or sagebrush plains, can also be found in coniferous forests and subalpine meadows.
  • SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Native grasses for summer forage.
  • BREEDING: Litter of 3-6 born furred and with open eyes.
  • FOOD: Grasses and other green vegetation in summer; twigs, bark and buds in winter.
  • IN CENTRAL OREGON: Occurs in central Oregon
  • REFERENCES: Burt 1952.

Top of page