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1 January 2001 Survival of Cottontail Rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus) in Mississippi and an Examination of Latitudinal Variation
BOBBY T. BOND, L. WES BURGER, Jr., BRUCE D. LEOPOLD, K. DAVID GODWIN
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Abstract

We estimated seasonal and annual survival and cause-specific mortality of 132 cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus) in east-central Mississippi during 2 y. Daily survival did not differ between years for genders, but differed significantly between breeding (99.22%) and nonbreeding seasons (99.76%). Mammalian (54.8%) and avian (26.1%) cause-specific mortalities were major mortality agents. Mammalian predation was similar between genders during the breeding season (male: 51.8%; female: 59.4%). Males experienced greater avian predation during the breeding season (male: 33.7%; female: 18.8%). Mammalian predation (male: 12.8%; female: 25.1%) and harvest (male: 25.6%; female: 12.5%) did not differ between genders for the nonbreeding season. Daily mammalian (breeding: 0.45%; nonbreeding: 0.10%) and avian (breeding: 0.22%; nonbreeding: 0.03%) predation differed between seasons. Cottontails preyed upon had greater movement rates the week before death than those that survived the same week. Cottontails that experienced avian predation had larger core areas up to day of death than those that did not experience avian predation whereas home-range size did not differ. Home-range and core-area sizes did not differ between rabbits that experienced mammalian predation and those that did not. From four previous survival studies and ours, cottontails exhibited latitudinal variation in survival (possibly due to climatic factors, mammalian or predator population levels). Southern (Mississippi and South Carolina) populations exhibited survival less than northern (Wisconsin and Illinois) populations in the breeding season and greater survival during the nonbreeding season than northern populations.

BOBBY T. BOND, L. WES BURGER, Jr., BRUCE D. LEOPOLD, and K. DAVID GODWIN "Survival of Cottontail Rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus) in Mississippi and an Examination of Latitudinal Variation," The American Midland Naturalist 145(1), 127-136, (1 January 2001). https://doi.org/10.1674/0003-0031(2001)145[0127:SOCRSF]2.0.CO;2
Received: 23 March 2000; Accepted: 1 September 2000; Published: 1 January 2001
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