13 Types of Rabbits in Colorado

Types of Rabbits in Colorado
Photo by Ajay Kumar Jana on Unsplash

Colorado is home to a remarkable variety of rabbit species, each uniquely adapted to its specific habitat.

These small mammals contribute to the state’s rich biodiversity, from iconic cottontails to the elusive jackrabbits.

Exploring the types of rabbits in Colorado allows us to appreciate their distinct characteristics and understand their importance in local ecosystems.

Whether the Eastern Cottontail thrives in open fields, the Mountain Cottontail finds shelter in rocky mountainous regions, or the specialized desert-dwellers like the Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Colorado offers diverse habitats for these fascinating creatures.

By delving into the world of rabbits in Colorado, we gain insights into their ecological roles and the delicate balance of nature within the state.

1. Eastern Cottontail

Eastern Cottontail 
by danielle.brigida is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Eastern Cottontail is one of the most common rabbit species in Colorado. Its soft fur and distinctive white cotton-like tail make it easily recognizable.

Found throughout the state, Eastern Cottontails prefer brushy areas near farmlands, open fields, and forests.

They are primarily herbivores, feeding on grasses, clover, and other vegetation.

2. Mountain Cottontail

Mountain Cottontail
by M_Kipple is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Mountain Cottontail is another prominent rabbit species in Colorado. As the name suggests, it thrives in the state’s mountainous regions.

These rabbits in Colorado have a grayish-brown coat, blending well with their rocky habitats.

Mountain Cottontails are adept at climbing and often seek shelter in rocky outcrops or burrows. They feed on a variety of plant materials, such as grasses, shrubs, and bark.

3. Black-Tailed Jackrabbit

Black-Tailed Jackrabbit 
by samiamx is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Black-Tailed Jackrabbit is the largest rabbit species found in Colorado. Known for its impressive speed and long ears, it is often mistaken for a hare.

These rabbits have a unique black stripe on their tail, distinguishing them from other species. 

Black-Tailed Jackrabbits inhabit open grasslands, shrublands, and deserts. They have a specialized diet, primarily consuming grasses, cacti, and other desert plants.

4. Desert Cottontail

Desert Cottontail
by Monkeystyle3000 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Desert Cottontail is well-adapted to arid regions and can be found in western Colorado. Its fur color varies depending on the surroundings, ranging from gray to brown. 

These rabbits in Colorado have strong hind legs, enabling them to escape from predators swiftly.

Desert Cottontails feed on various desert plants, including shrubs, cacti, and grasses.

5. Pygmy Rabbit

Pygmy Rabbit
by USFWS Mountain Prairie is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Pygmy Rabbit is one of the smallest rabbit species in North America and can be found in the sagebrush habitats of Colorado.

These rabbits have a light brownish-gray fur coloration, providing excellent camouflage.

Pygmy Rabbits are adapted to living in caves and have a specialized diet of sagebrush plants.

6. Snowshoe Hare

Snowshoe Hare
by DenaliNPS is licensed under CC BY 2.0

While not as prevalent as some other species, the Snowshoe Hare can be found in higher elevations in Colorado.

These hares have a distinct seasonal coat color change, transitioning from brown in the summer to a snowy white during winter to blend with the snow-covered environment.

Snowshoe Hares feed on a variety of plant materials, including shrubs, buds, and bark.

7. White-Tailed Jackrabbit

White-Tailed Jackrabbit
by USFWS Mountain Prairie is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The White-Tailed Jackrabbit, or the Prairie Hare, is a giant rabbit in Colorado’s grasslands and shrublands.

They have a brownish-gray fur color, except for their distinctive white tail. 

White-Tailed Jackrabbits are known for their exceptional speed and agility, allowing them to evade predators. Their diet primarily consists of grasses, herbs, and shrubs.

8. American Pika

American Pika
by brandannorman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Although not an actual rabbit, the American Pika is a small mammal closely related to rabbits and hares.

These adorable creatures are found in Colorado’s alpine and subalpine regions, particularly in rocky areas. 

They have a round body, short limbs, and round ears. American Pikas are well-adapted to cold environments and feed on alpine vegetation, including grasses, herbs, and twigs.

9. Swamp Rabbit

Swamp Rabbit
by pecooper98362 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The Swamp Rabbit is a species of cottontail rabbit found in Colorado’s wetland areas and riparian habitats.

They have a dark brown or blackish coat, allowing them to blend with their marshy surroundings. 

Swamp Rabbits are strong swimmers and are well-adapted to their aquatic habitat. Their diet includes grasses, sedges, and aquatic plants.

10. New England Cottontail

New England Cottontail
by New England cottontail is licensed under CC BY 2.0

New England Cottontail  While not as common as other species, the New England Cottontail has a limited presence in Colorado’s eastern regions.

They closely resemble the Eastern Cottontail in appearance but have some subtle differences. 

These rabbits in Colorado prefer dense shrublands and young forests as their habitat. Their diet includes various plant materials, including leaves, twigs, and fruits.

11. Mexican Cottontail

The Mexican Cottontail is a rabbit species native to Mexico but can also be found in parts of southern Colorado, near the state’s borders.

They have a gray or reddish-brown coat with a white underside. 

Mexican Cottontails inhabit arid areas, including grasslands, scrublands, and deserts. Their diet primarily consists of grasses, herbs, and desert plants.

12. Marsh Rabbit

The Marsh Rabbit is a species of cottontail rabbit found in Colorado’s wetland areas, such as marshes, swamps, and coastal plains.

They have a brownish or grayish coat that helps them blend with their surroundings.

Marsh Rabbits are excellent swimmers and are well-adapted to their aquatic habitat. They feed on various plants, including marsh grasses, sedges, and aquatic vegetation.

13. Brush Rabbit

Brush Rabbit - Types of Rabbits in Colorado 
by Don Henise is licensed under CC BY 2.0

While primarily found in the western United States, including parts of California and Oregon, the Brush Rabbit has a limited distribution in Colorado.

These rabbits prefer dense shrublands, chaparral, and woodland habitats. They have a brownish-gray coat with lighter underparts. 

Brush Rabbits are known for their ability to take cover quickly in dense vegetation, making them relatively elusive.

Their diet includes various plant materials such as grasses, herbs, and shrubs.


The diverse types of rabbits found in Colorado illustrate the adaptability and resilience of these small mammals.

Each rabbit species has found its niche in the state’s varied landscapes, from the open grasslands to the high alpine regions.

Their ability to survive and thrive in different habitats is a testament to their evolutionary success.

The presence of rabbits contributes to the overall health of Colorado’s ecosystems by serving as prey for predators, dispersing seeds through their foraging activities, and playing a vital role in nutrient cycling.

As we appreciate the beauty and diversity of rabbits in Colorado, it becomes evident that protecting their habitats and maintaining a balanced ecosystem is crucial for their continued presence and for preserving Colorado’s natural heritage.

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