Not the Colours of Wildlife: Eastern Cottontail

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Not the Colours of Wildlife: Eastern Cottontail

Sylvilagus floridanus in My Backyard by Dmitri Gheorgheni

This is a Sylvilagus floridanus, or Eastern Cottontail Rabbit. Nobody has anything nice to say about them except me. According to Wikipedia, 'Almost every living carnivorous creature larger or faster than the lagomorph is its predator.' Its only defence is good hearing and a fast set of legs. The only reason there are still bunnies around is that they breed really quickly. Poor things.

Note the distinctive cotton tail that gives this creature its name. This particularly large specimen is pretty tame, for a rabbit: it was photographed sitting about four feet off the side porch. He didn't stay, once the camera clicked. Three shots were taken: bunny eating, bunny looking alert, back end of bunny disappearing around neighbour's crepe myrtle bush.

Note also the dappled fur:

Glory be to God for dappled things –

For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings….

Gerard Manley Hopkins

In a world that treasures success above all, and despises 'losers', apparently the Eastern Cottontail doesn't get much love. Phooey. I say the humble rabbit exists because God likes helpless, furry things. Rabbits are unbearably endearing in their innocence. The existence of bunnies may be a form of heavenly promise that someday, the Peaceable Kingdom will come into existence: the one where it's perfectly okay to be completely harmless.

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