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Oregon Wildlife Species

Mammals: Pikas, Rabbits, and Hares

Oregon Mammals:    

Order Logomorpha
Family Ochotonidae
American Pika
American Pika
-Photo by Keith Kohl, ODFW-

American Pika Ochotona princeps

The rat-sized pika is characterized by rounded ears, no external tail, bare planter pads, and hind feed scarcely longer than the front feet.

The pika is usually associated with talus containing boulders and immediately adjacent to meadows containing suitable forage plants. Sometimes forested areas, including recently cut-over lands, are occupied.

In Oregon the species is limited to suitable habitats in the Cascade Range and the Wallowa, Blue, Strawberry, Steens, Hart, and Warner mountains, and at Newberry Crater in Deschutes County and Grizzly and Cougar peaks in western Lake County.

Family Leporidae
Pygmy Rabbit
Pygmy Rabbit
-Wikipedia-

Pygmy Rabbit Brachylagus idahoensis

The ears of the Pygmy Rabbit are short, rounded, and covered with long silky hairs inside and out; the tail is small and covered with hairs possessing wide buffy bands with narrow blackish tips above and below; and the feet are short, densely furred below, and colored a light orangy-buff.

In Oregon, Pygmy Rabbits have been found east and south of a line connecting Klamath Falls, Klamath County; Fremont, Lake County; Redmond, Deschutes County; and Baker City, Baker County. This rabbit is closely tied to habitats dominated by big sagebrush.

Brush Rabbit
Brush Rabbit
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Brush Rabbit Sylvilagus bachmani

The Brush Rabbit rarely ventures more than a few meters from the extremely dense brush that constitutes the requisite component of their habitat. Runways are interlaced through brushy clumps into surrounding grassy areas and are kept clear of vegetation for easy and quick access to and from foraging areas.

In Oregon, the Brush Rabbit occurs in the Willamette Valley and other interior valleys, in coastal areas, and in valleys along coastal streams from the Columbia River south, and from the foothills of the Cascade Range west.

Eastern Cottontail Rabbit
Eastern Cottontail Rabbit
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Eastern Cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus

The Eastern Cottontail is the largest member of the genus in Oregon. Overall the dorsal pelage is brownish, becoming darker (almost black) on the rump and lighter buffy brown on the flanks; the nape patch is orangy brown without black hairs. The head is the same color as the dorsum. The hairs on the dorsum have steel gray bases followed by bands of brownish black, buff, and black. The venter hairs are white with gray bases, giving a splotched appearance when the hairs are spread, The tail hairs are white to the base.

This rabbit was introduced into Benton County in 1937 and into Linn County in 1941 from Ohio and Illinois. From these sites, eastern cottontails have spread at least through the mid-Willamette Valley. The source of animals in the Portland area is unknown, but it may be from Missouri stock introduced near Battle Ground, WA in 1933.

In the Willamette Valley, coverts occupied by the Eastern Cottontail commonly contain large clumps of blackberries interlaced around small white oak, ash and black cottonwood trees and interspersed among grasses and forbs.

Mountain Cottontail
Mountain Cottontail Rabbit
-Photo by David Bronson, ODFW-

Mountain Cottontail Sylvilagus nuttallii

The Mountain Cottontail is intermediate in size and light grayish-brown in color, it's tail is white and ears relatively broad and rounded.

It is usually associated with rocky outcrops with nearby dominant vegetation consisting of big sagebrush, bitter-brush, rabbit-brush, western juniper and mountain-mahogany.

In Oregon it occurs throughout the state east of the Cascade Range with a western extension into Josephine County.

Snowshoe Hare
Snowshoe Hare in summer
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Snowshoe Hare Lepus americanus

The Snowshoe Hare is the smallest member of the genus in Oregon. Individuals in populations east of the Cascade Range, and some individuals in the Cascade Range, become white in winter and are brown in summer.

This hare is associated with dense thickets of young conifers, especially those with lower branches touching the ground and especially firs and western larch interspersed with small clearings vegetated by grasses and forbs.

black-tailed jackrabbit
Black-tailed Jackrabbit
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Black-tailed Jackrabbit Lepus californicus

The Black-tailed Jackrabbit is slightly smaller than the White-tailed Jackrabbit but considerably larger than the Snowshoe Hare. In conformation it is much like the White-tailed Jackrabbit.

West of the Cascade Range the dorsal hairs of this rabbit have gray blending to dark-brown or blackish base followed by a narrow band of buff and a black tip. Hairs on the throat, sides, and rump have gray bases blending to buff with short black tips. On the venter, hairs are white with light pinkish-buff tips. The tail is black on the dorsum and dark buff on the venter. The ears are dark buff peppered with black and blending to black at the tip. The feet are mostly white with splotches of buff dorsally. Overall, the coloration is dark buff shading to black on the dorsum. In summer, the pelage is much lighter; black bands on hairs are shorter.

East of the Cascade Range the light-colored bands on the dorsal hairs are almost white instead of buff and the dark-colored bands are much narrower. The overall appearance of the pelage in winter is similar to that of the summer pelage west of the Cascade range but are grizzled. The feet are much darker and the dorsal surface of the tail has more black.

In Oregon the Black-tailed Jackrabbit is found, west of the cascade Range only in the Rogue Umpqua and Willamette Valleys. East of the Cascade Range it occurs throughout the sagebrush regions. It uses a variety of habitats within its range.

white-tailed jackrabbit
White-tailed Jackrabbit
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

White-tailed Jackrabbit Lepus townsendii

Summer and winter pelages of white-tailed jackrabbit are drastically different. In summer the overall appearance is grizzled dark grayish with overtones of pinkish buff, blending lighter on the sides. In winter it is the color of dirty snow, shading lighter on the sides.

In Oregon, the white-tailed jackrabbit occurs east and south of a line connecting Rufus, Sherman County; Maupin and Antelope, Wasco County' John Day, Grand County' Juntura, Malheur County; Fields, Harney County; Fort Rock, Lake County; and Fort Klamath and Klamath Falls, Klamath County. It is associated with bunchgrass habitats.

Glossary of terms | Sources: Atlas of Oregon Wildlife | Land Mammals of Oregon

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