It seems that the Easter Bunny has taken up residence. We're seeing him more and more nibbling the grass usually at twilight. We're pretty sure this one is a type of Cottontail, but we're not yet certain. Come to find out, rabbits are not actually rodents, although closely related, but of another order, called Lagomorpha. Logomorpha includes rabbits, hares and the pika. Still, they seem to think all the vegetables in the garden are there for the nibbling, so now we have to decide what to do...
There are several different rabbit types that live nearby:
Pika -- In the Sierra's high, subalpine belt, between 7500 and 12000 ft, higher elevations lives the Pika (Ochotona princeps), also called the Rock Rabbit. The Pika isn't actually a true rabbit, but they are genetically related.
Pygmy Rabbit -- Another indigenous rabbit is the Pygmy Rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis). Its range includes the Big Sagebrush regions of Nevada, California, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Washington. According to the Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, the Pygmy Rabbit is endangered mainly due to the loss and fragmentation of its native habitat ("conversion of sagebrush rangeland to agriculture; development, including oil and gas production; and wildfire frequency in some areas). Since this rabbit feeds mainly on sagebrush, the widespread destruction of old growth Big Sagebrush country greatly effects the rabbit's ability to survive. The little rabbit must also endure the local predators like coyotes, foxes, weasels, bobcats, badgers, owls, hawks, eagles, and humans who use the rabbits for target practice.
The Cottontail -- There's at least two species of Cottontail in the Sierra. The one that lives in our area is the Desert Cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii), who likes the Big Sagebrush forests of the eastern side of the range. The Cottontail is very common, and also a favorite for hunters.
The Snowshoe Hare -- The Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus) turns white in the winter for camouflage in the snow, then brown as the snow melts. It's found in the conifer forests where there's plenty of water loving vegetation along year round streams.
The Jackrabbit -- The Black-Tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) is a fun sight to see in the desert. They live on both sides of the Sierra ridge, and can be seen amongst the Big Sagebrush forests of the Great Basin.
Source: Sierra Nevada Natural History (California Natural History Guides)