Can supplemental food increase winter survival of a threatened cottontail rabbit?

  • Published source details Weidman T. & Litvaitis J.A. (2011) Can supplemental food increase winter survival of a threatened cottontail rabbit?. Biological Conservation, 144, 2054-2058.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide supplementary food to increase reproduction/survival

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Provide supplementary food to increase reproduction/survival

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2009–2010 in 23 mixed wetland, scrubland, and wasteland sites in New Hampshire, USA (Weidman & Litvaitis 2011) found that supplementary feeding increased survival of eastern cottontail rabbits Sylvilagus floridanus. After two months, rabbit survival in sites where supplementary food was provided was higher (9 of 15 animals; 60%) than in sites where no food was provided (5 of 13 animals; 38%). In November 2009–March 2010, twenty-eight rabbits were trapped and fitted with radio-collars and ear tags. Between December 2009 and March 2010, commercial rabbit food was provided every three days (450 g) at some sites and no food was provided at other sites. The number of sites where food was provided is unclear.

    (Summarised by: Phil Martin)

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