New York Natural Heritage Program
New England Cottontail
Sylvilagus transitionalis (Bangs, 1895)
New England cottontail Michael N. Marchand
Family: Rabbits and Hares (Leporidae)

State Protection: Species Of Special Concern
A native species at risk of becoming Threatened; does not qualify as Endangered or Threatened, but have been determined to require some measure of protection or attention to ensure that the species does not become threatened. NYSDEC may regulate the taking, importation, transportation, or possession of any Species of Special Concern as it deems necessary.

Federal Protection: Not Listed

State Rarity Rank: S1S2
A State Rarity Rank of S1S2 means: Critically Imperiled or Imperiled in New York - Especially or very vulnerable to disappearing from New York due to rarity or other factors; typically 20 or fewer populations or locations in New York, very few individuals, very restricted range, few remaining acres (or miles of stream), and/or steep declines. More information is needed to assign a single conservation status.

Global Rarity Rank: G3
A Global Rarity Rank of G3 means: Either rare and local throughout its range (21 to 100 occurrences), or found locally (even abundantly at some of its locations) in a restricted range (e.g. a physiographic region), or vulnerable to extinction throughout its range because of other factors.

Did you know?
The New England Cottontail is essentially indistinguishable in the field from the more common Eastern Cottontail. Scientists perform genetic testing on rabbit scat (droppings) to determine which species are present.

State Ranking Justification [-]
New England cottontails have disappeared from many historical locations including Warren County, the Catskills, and Long Island. It was last documented in Rensselaer County in the 1960s (Benton and Atkinsin 1964). Recent surveys suggest that it continues to decline throughout its range due to forest maturation, habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, and competition with eastern cottontails (Litvaitis et al. 2006). In New York, it is now limited to a few fragmented populations in Columbia, Dutchess, Putnam, and Westchester counties. If current trends continue, the species will likely become extirpated in the state.

Short-term Trends [-]

Long-term Trends [-]