The rabbit or cotton tail, as he is familiarly termed, is too
well-known to need any description here. From Maine to Texas our
woods abound with these fleet-footed little creatures, of which
there are several American species. They are the swiftest of all
American quadrupeds, and have been known to clear over twenty feet
in a single leap. They are all natural burrowers, although they
often forego the trouble of excavat
ng a home when one can be found
already made, and which can be easily modified or adapted to their
purposes. The common rabbit of New England often makes its home or
form, beneath a pile of brush or logs, or in crevices in rocks.
Here it brings forth its young, of which there are often three
or four litters a year. The creature becomes a parent at a very
early age, and by the time that a rabbit is a year old it may have
attained the dignity of a grand parent.
The food of the rabbit consists of grasses, bark, leaves, bulbs,
young twigs, buds, berries and the like, and of cultivated vegetables
of all kinds, when opportunity favors. When surprised in the woods
it manifests its alarm by violently striking the ground with its
feet, causing the peculiar sound so often noticed at their first
jump. The animal is fond of pursuing a beaten path in the woods,
and is often snared at such places. Its enemies, beside man, are
the lynx, and other carnivorous animals, hawks, owls, and even
the domestic cat.
The rabbit is a favorite game with all amateur sportsmen, and the
devices used in its capture are multitudinous. It is by no means
a difficult animal to trap, and a glance through the second and
fourth sections of our book, will reveal many ingenious snares
and other contrivances, commonly and successfully used.
The Box trap, page 103, is perhaps the most universal example of
rabbit trap, but the Self-setting trap, page 110, and Double-ender,
page 109, are also equally effective where the animal is desired
to be taken alive. If this is not an object, the snare is to be
recommended as simple in construction and sure in its result.
The above constitute the only devices commonly used for the capture
of the rabbit, the steel trap being dispensed with. On page 109
will be found additional remarks concerning the rabbit, and many
hints no baiting, etc., are also given under the heads of the various
traps above alluded to.
The skin of the rabbit is very thin and tender, and should be carefully
removed, either as described for the fox, or in the ordinary method,
by incision up the belly. Full directions for curing and tanning
the skins will be found under its proper head in a later portion
of this work.