Hi there campers!! I have enjoyed putting together these 6 weeks of virtual nature camp activities and I hope that you will continue to explore nature around where you live throughout the next year. There are many amazing treasures to find!
For the last week of virtual camp, I chose two animals that might be a little challenging to find, but with perseverance and sharp eyes one day you might get to see one!
The wild rabbit is a prey animal and the Bobcat is a predator, both are fairly secretive. I have included a few photos of these animals that I was fortunate enough to take in Central Florida.
I hope that you find these fun facts interesting and that you get to encounter these animals one day too!
Fun Facts about Rabbits
- Rabbits really don’t usually eat carrots in the wild; they prefer greens like weeds, grasses and clover.
- Rabbits are social animals, they live in groups.
- Rabbits dig tunnel systems called warrens. The warrens have multiple entrances. Some are as large as tennis courts and can extend 10 feet into the ground.
- More than ½ of the world’s rabbits live in North America.
- Young rabbits are called kits (or sometimes kittens). Female rabbits are called does and male rabbits are called bucks.
- The world’s largest type of rabbit is the Flemish Giant Rabbit. It can grow up to 22 pounds and be 2 ½ feet in length.
- Rabbits groom themselves like cats. Also like cats they purr when they are relaxed.
- A happy rabbit will hop and twist in mid-air. This is called a binky!
- Rabbits can see almost 360 degrees. They only have a small blind spot right between their eyes.
- They have excellent hearing. They can hear sounds up to 2 miles away.
- They also have a very good sense of smell. They have over 100 million scent receptors in their nose. When they twitch their nose it helps to expose these receptors.
- Rabbits are excellent jumpers. The highest rabbit jump was 3.26 feet off the ground. The farthest reached 10 feet.
- Their oversized ears help them to keep cool, by allowing heat to escape.
- There are two types of wild rabbits found in Florida: the Marsh Rabbit and the Eastern Cottontail Rabbit.
Fun Facts About Marsh Rabbits
- Marsh Rabbits are slightly smaller and darker than Eastern Cottontail Rabbits.
- They are strong swimmers and are usually found close to water.
- They have a small brown tail.
- They are found throughout Florida and the Southeastern U.S.
- They can be found in fresh and brackish marshes, wet prairies and flooded fields.
- Their coat can be dark brown to reddish brown.
- There is a type of Marsh Rabbit that lives in the Florida Keys that is endangered due to habitat loss.
Fun Facts About the Eastern Cottontail Rabbit
- Their coat can be reddish brown to gray but all have a tail that looks like a cotton ball!
- They are found from Canada to South America. They like to live on fringes of open spaces such as fields, meadows and farms.
- They stay mostly hidden in the daytime.
- Their nests are well camouflaged; from above they look like a patch of dead grass.
- So that she doesn’t draw attention to the nest, the mother Cottontail visits the nest at dawn and dusk. Her milk is so rich she only needs to feed the kits twice a day.
- When danger is near they can stay perfectly still for up to 15 minutes.
- When needed to escape they run in a zigzag pattern and can reach speeds up to 18mph!
Fun Facts about Bobcats
- The Bobcat is the most abundant wildcat in North America.
- They are mostly solitary.
- The Bobcat got its name from its tail, which looks cut or “bobbed”.
- They pounce on their prey. They can leap over 10 feet!
- They can chase their prey in short bursts going up to 30mph!’’
- They are about twice the size of a housecat weighing up to 33 pounds.
- Their coat color varies from light gray to yellowish brown to solid brown and even reddish brown.
- All black Bobcats have been seen in South Florida.
- All Bobcats are spotted; some have more spots than others.
- They have excellent vision, hearing and sense of smell.
- They can swim! They are excellent climbers.
- They eat mostly small prey such as rabbits, birds and rodents.
- They will have a variety of dens for resting and shelter in their territories. In Florida their dens could be in hollow logs, tree hollows, openings in the ground or thick patches of shrubs.
- They are becoming more common in cities where they are nocturnal to avoid people.
Rabbits and Bobcats may be very challenging to find since both are very secretive.
If you are fortunate and are able to see a rabbit or bobcat in the wild be sure to observe it from a safe distance. Remember staying quiet on the trail will increase your chances of viewing wildlife!
Observe the Tiny Worlds of a Baby Rabbit:
- Baby rabbits spend their time in a relatively small space. Take time to explore a small area of nature from the point of view of a rabbit kit.
- Use a string, yarn or a hula-hoop to circle a small area in your yard or park.
- Take time to slowly look at every part of that area for tiny creatures and plants.
- Draw or describe all the natural things that you find. If you are keeping a nature journal it would be a great place to record your observations.
- Move your string, yarn or hula- hoop to a different location and see what new things you can find.
The SEEK App:
If you have access to a smart device there is a free App called SEEK that is put together by iNaturalist, National Geographic and the California Academy of Sciences.
You can use this app to help you identify living things that you find as you explore nature with your family. This App will help you to identify plants, fungi, mammals, amphibians, birds, insects and more. As you identify things you will receive badges and challenges to make it more fun.