Throughout the history of North America, cottontail rabbits have roamed freely across the woods, meadows, and lawns. You could have seen one of these rabbits leap into your yard to munch a few clovers. You might have seen one dart across the road while you were driving down the road.

Cottontail rabbits are one of the charming animals that we observe in nature and enjoy from a distance. However, domestication for educational reasons has been a sluggish and gradual process that has just recently begun.

So, you may be thinking, can I pet a cottontail rabbit?

No, you cannot have a cottontail rabbit as a pet. Wild rabbits will not make a nice pet unless you are exceptionally experienced and knowledgeable about their behavior and habits.

These creatures are fully wild. Also, in order for them to survive, they must be allowed to live in their natural environment.

The fact that prey animals are used to hiding from predators means that they have strong stimulus reactions to their environment. Cottontails that have been captured in the wild will always be terrified of you. 

This is because of their natural fear of humans. They do not exhibit the mild characteristics associated with domesticated rabbits.

In this article, we will inform you all about having a cottontail rabbit as a pet. So, keep reading!

Can You Have A Cottontail Rabbit As A Pet?

Can You Own A Cottontail Rabbit?

Can You Own A Cottontail Rabbit?

No, you cannot own a cottontail rabbit. Cottontail rabbits are generally peaceful and friendly with one another. However, this is not the case when it comes to other humans or animals. It is because of their enhanced predatory instincts that they are considerably more sensitive to loud sounds and swift movements.

You must use extreme caution while handling them. You must be certain that you protect yourself while also securing them in a proper manner.

A cottontail rabbit can inflict terrible injury to you with their strong feet. However, they may also cause serious injury to their spine if they attempt to flee from you by kicking wildly.

Cottontails are very protective of their young. It is unlikely that you will ever discover one that is not. They are always on the defensive, with their flight instincts ready to take action. 

A cottontail rabbit’s uneasiness may vary from individual to individual rabbit. However, they are not very gregarious and are timid in general.

Even if you nurture a cottontail from infancy, they will retain the genetic fundamental impulses that were passed down from their parents.

Can You Domesticate A Cottontail Rabbit?

Can You Domesticate A Cottontail Rabbit?

No, you cannot domesticate a cottontail rabbit. The keeping of a wild rabbit as a pet is never suggested for anybody.

Animal safety professionals and experts never suggest this practice since it is possibly harmful for both the animal and its handler.

If your rabbit has been captured and imprisoned in a cage, make sure that the environment in which it is housed is secure, quiet and clean. It is likely that the wild rabbits would be watchful of their surroundings. Any excessive stress might be deadly. 

Make sure that you and the other members of your family maintain a cool demeanor while gradually introducing themselves. If the confined rabbit perceives that you are a danger, they will get alarmed.

It is never advisable to go close to the rabbit on your own. This has the potential to cause damage to both you and the animal. Once your rabbit is calm and secure, you will have less difficulty transporting it to a veterinarian. Keeping a wild rabbit as a pet is very harmful and is often prohibited by law.

Can A Cottontail Rabbit Be A Pet?

No, a cottontail rabbit cannot be kept as a pet. Cottontail rabbits are a totally different species of rabbits. They are unable to connect with one another, communicate properly, or comprehend one another.

Domestic rabbits are gregarious and like to live in groups. However, wild rabbits are more independent and prefer to go about their business on their own.

The best plan of action is to attempt to capture the rabbit and transport him to a safe location. Even though they are avoiding you, you may be able to approach them and grab them if you are offering them tasty food.

However, we recommend contacting animal control, a rabbit rescue organization for assistance.

Is It Illegal To Keep A Cottontail Rabbit?

Yes, it is illegal to keep a cottontail rabbit. The possession of wild rabbits, especially cottontail rabbits, without a specific license is strictly prohibited.

Without a permit from your state’s Department of Environmental Protection, it is unlawful to care for or retain any wild animal. Unless you are registered with the department, you should not keep a cottontail rabbit.

Rehabilitating a wild rabbit is one of the most difficult tasks you’ll ever face. In addition, they are one of the most vulnerable species. In order to minimize the suffering of orphaned and injured animals, efforts should be made.

Your inability to help them recover will just make things worse for them. It is cruel and inhumane to keep a wild animal as a pet. A cage is not enough for them. They also like to be in the company of their own kind’s creatures.

What States Is It Illegal To Keep A Wild Rabbit?

What States Is It Illegal To Keep A Wild Rabbit?

The possession of a wild rabbit as a pet is unlawful in most states in the United States. This is unless you have a state license or the rabbit is young and wounded or in imminent danger of dying. 

Due to the fact that rabbits are not born in captivity, something is being done to safeguard them. Furthermore, it is not safe to get into contact with a wild rabbit since they may carry a variety of potentially harmful illnesses.

It is difficult to keep up with the legislation in each state on a consistent basis. However, more than half of all states in the United States have laws forbidding or regulating the acquisition of wild rabbits and other animals.

Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota,, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin are among the states that fall into this category.

Certain exceptions are made in certain of these states when a wild animal is maintained for scientific or ecological research or for conservation reasons. It may be feasible to get a license in order to lawfully maintain a wild rabbit in captivity.

All environmental problems should be directed to the state’s department of environmental protection. According to general consensus, keeping a wild animal is either unlawful or not advised.

How To Take Care Of Cottontail Rabbits?

If you do have a chance to come upon a cottontail, there are a few different ways it may have happened.

You captured one in a live trap and released it. When you set up your live trap to capture that annoying raccoon that keeps digging through your garbage, you could have accidentally caught an inquisitive rabbit instead.

It seems that you have a litter of bunnies in your yard. Because rabbits build their nests in the ground and cover their young with grass and hair, you may be able to locate their litter as they begin to become more active.

You may come upon a cottontail that was hurt. In order to take care of a cottontail rabbit you discovered, take him injured to a wildlife refuge near you. They may get the essential medical attention they will need.

You discovered a living cottontail that had been struck by a vehicle. If a cottontail has been struck by a vehicle, you will want to bring them to a competent rehabilitator as soon as possible.

The first thing to remember when dealing with a wild rabbit is that it may die from stress. Fear, discomfort, and stress may cause poisons to flow into a rabbit’s system. This has an extremely high risk of fatality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Befriend A Cottontail Rabbit?

With patience and enough carrots, wild rabbits may be amicable. However, it is impossible to befriend a cottontail rabbit. It’s important to remember that rabbits are by nature highly cautious and shy. They are prey animals that are pursued on a regular basis.

How Much Does A Cottontail Bunny Cost?

Rabbits purchased from a pet shop will cost between $20 and $40. Rabbits obtained from rescue cost $5 and $20. It varies from breeder to breeder how much they charge for their unique breed of rabbit. Some are less expensive than pet shops. However, others, particularly those who specialize in uncommon species, would charge upwards of $100 for a rabbit.

How Long Can A Cottontail Rabbit Live?

Rabbits have brief lives. It is unlikely that rabbits will die of old age. Only around a quarter of eastern cottontails live for more than two years. They have an average lifetime of approximately fifteen months.

Final Words

Wild animals live in specialized ecosystems. When they come into contact with people, they have the ability to transmit and acquire illnesses that may be deadly. Because the rabbit you encounter outdoors is not used to living in captivity, keeping it is often regarded unlawful and frequently inhumane.

There are a large number of legal rabbits available for purchase from licensed pet retailers and breeding facilities. Unless you have extensive expertise with wild animals, it is advisable to leave them in their natural environment. If you are unsure of what to do, look into local possibilities for where to take them. This is particularly if they need veterinarian care and release.

Drop down your queries regarding wild rabbits in the comment section below. We will answer them soon!


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