Did You Know? 17 Incredible Swamp Rabbit Facts

Discover interesting swamp rabbit facts, including where they live and what they eat.

The swamp rabbit or swamp hare (Sylvilagus aquaticus) are large cottontail rabbits often spotted in parts of the United States like South Carolina, Texas, Georgia, and Alabama. They belong to the Sylvilagus genus of the Leporidae family and mainly eat grasses, tree bark, tree seedlings, and shrubs. Their habitat is near water bodies and wetlands, including moist tropical forests as well. Swamp rabbits usually live in small depressions or nests they dig out among tall grasses for cover. During breeding season, they make nests out of rabbit hair and grasses.

Swamp rabbits have black brown fur that covers their head and body. Their throat, tail, and abdomen is white while they also have a cinnamon shaded ring around their eyes. If you're curious about them, the swamp rabbit trail in South Carolina is the best place to spot some. Don't forget to check out more interesting facts about other rabbit species including European rabbit and mountain cottontail.

Swamp Rabbit Facts

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Grass, shrubs, and twigs

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

4-5.6 lbs (1.8-2.5 kg)

How long are they?

17.8-21.7 in (45-55 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Black, brown, and white

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Humans and predators

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Wetlands, tropical moist forests, and savannas


North America





Scientific Name

Sylvilagus aquaticus





Swamp Rabbit Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a swamp rabbit?

Swamp rabbits are large cottontail rabbits that usually live in various parts of North America.

What class of animal does a swamp rabbit belong to?

Swamp rabbits, also known as marsh rabbits, are animals that belong to the class of mammals from the Sylvilagus genus of the Leporidae family. Their scientific name is Sylvilagus aquaticus.

How many swamp rabbits are there in the world?

Their population size of these animals is not yet calculated but as a species listed as Least Concern, their numbers should be fairly stable.

Where does a swamp rabbit live?

Swamp rabbits are often found in wetland areas of southern United States and along the Gulf coast. They are most commonly found in Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, South Carolina, Louisiana, Kansas, and Georgia. As the name suggests, their main preference is swampy areas.

What is a swamp rabbit's habitat?

Swamp rabbits live in swampy areas including wetlands, marshy areas, lowlands, flooded grasslands and, tropical moist forests of United States. These animals are excellent swimmers and prefer living close to water bodies. They spend most of their time in self-made dirt pits amongst tall grasses and any other shrubs that can provide them a place to hide.

Who do swamp rabbits live with?

A swamp rabbit usually lives a solitary life and can be seen with a partner only during breeding season. They are territorial and spend their time hiding behind tall grasses and self dug depressions which provides them with cover.

How long does a swamp rabbit live?

The average lifespan of a swamp rabbit range from two to nine years. It can depend upon factors like predators and hunters.

How do they reproduce?

A swamp rabbit has a specified breeding period in which all members of this species mate and have babies. This breeding season can vary but usually range from February to August. In some places, like Texas or South Carolina, mating season prevails all year round. Adults are not monogamous and can have multiple partners in one season. Before breeding, a series of behavioral pattern is noticed. Females chase the males or threaten them and the male runs away. After a jumping patterns, the pair begin mating and females begin chasing the male rabbits again. The gestation period ranges from 35 to 40 days and subsequently, a litter of four to six young ones are born in self-made nests. Their nests are made of grass and rabbit hair burrowed in a small pit. Females can give birth one to three times a year.  

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the swamp rabbit is Least Concern which means they have a stable population and are not endangered. In states like Oklahoma and Missouri, their numbers are steadily declining due to loss of habitat and hunting.

Swamp Rabbit Fun Facts

What do swamp rabbits look like?

The head and back of a swamp rabbit usually has a dark brown, rust brown and black fur. Their throat, tail, and chest is white in color. This species is the largest in its genus of cottontails. Swamp rabbits also have a cinnamon color ring around their eyes. Newborns have  a brown or black fur with white tail, chin, and abdomen. Their head is a mix of black and tan brown. When it comes to swamp rabbit vs cottontail in terms of appearance, swamp rabbits are undoubtedly bigger but they have smaller ears.

Get to know more interesting facts about the swamp rabbit and its habitat.

How cute are they?

Swamp rabbits are very cute! They have small ears, button eyes, and a very soft looking fur. These rabbits look very shy, innocent, and can easily steal your heart.

How do they communicate?

Swamp rabbits do not communicate using sound unless they feel threatened. The primary mode of communication is pheromones and scents, mainly used by males to mark territories. They can also hit the ground with their feet to show aggression when another rabbit enters their territory. Females have a set body language or jumping sequence they use before mating.

How big is a swamp rabbit?

Males are usually bigger females. The average swamp rabbit size ranges from 17.8-21.7 in (45-55 cm). It is about one and a half times the size of a common house rat.

How fast can a swamp rabbit run?

Swamp rabbits can run at the speed 28 mph (45 kph) in a zig zag pattern to escape predators.

How much does a swamp rabbit weigh?

A swamp rabbit adult weight range from 4-5.6 lbs (1.8-2.5 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

The males of this species are called bucks while females are called does.

What would you call a baby swamp rabbit?

Baby swamp rabbits are known as youngs, juveniles, or kittens.

What do they eat?

Swamp rabbits are herbivores and mainly eat shrubs, tree bark seedlings, grass, twins, and sedges. Their main food preference includes dewberry, green brier, savannah panicgrass, and false nettle. They have two kinds of execratory matter, one is green which they often eat for more nutrients and the other is inedible hard, brown pellets. Swamp rabbits mostly go hunting for at night but unexpected rain showers may force them to step out in the daylight. The main predators of this animal are American alligators, humans, domestic dogs, bobcats, gray foxes, snakes, and raptors.

Are they dangerous?

Swamp rabbits are harmless to human beings. On the contrary, swamp rabbit hunting has become a major reason for the decline in their number. Their fur and meat is often sold in southeastern United States.

Would they make a good pet?

Swamp rabbits belong in the wild and may not make a good pet. Their habits, diet, and behavior is more adept to the wild. However, the lifespan of this rabbit in captivity is way more than in wild. If they do catch your eye and you have experience in handling rabbits, then there is no need to worry!

Did you know...

Swamp rabbits are excellent swimmers and can quickly jump into the water to escape predators. They can even stay under the water with only their nose above the surface as a stealthy measure to avoid detection.

Do swamp rabbits have webbed feet?

Yes! As a swamp rabbit habitat is mostly near water and they often need to swim or dive underwater for both food and self defense. They evolved to have webbed feet which can help them swim efficiently.

Can you see swamp rabbits on the swamp rabbit trail?

The swamp rabbit trail was named because of the quantity of swamp rabbits in the area. It is the most popular greenway in South Carolina and continues for about 22 miles (35.4 km) along the Reedy River. The trail begins at Greenville Technical College and goes through the city of Greenville, finally stopping at Travelers Rest. You can find more information on this trail on the internet or maps. Both biking or walking is permitted along this greenway and you can occasionally find some swamp rabbits hiding along the way! While they are cautious in nature, you may be lucky enough to spot some.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including Rhinelander rabbit, or desert cottontail.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our rabbit coloring pages.



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