This is a very good year for rabbits at Quartz Mountain Nature Park. They seem to be everywhere first thing in the morning. As you drive through the park, it looks as if there is a cottontail every 100 feet or so. This is the largest number of rabbits in 20 years.
Plentiful rains in 2015 and spring of 2016 resulting in abundant food source may be a factor is the population explosion of rabbits. Fewer predators such as owls, coyote and bobcat, may be another. The cottontails may be a bit more road savvy this year as few are getting hit by cars. Or maybe folks are fawn watching and driving slower, so the rabbits more opportunities to get out of the road.
When is the best time to see rabbits at Quartz Mountain Nature Park? Early morning, just after sunrise is is a great time to observe rabbits. Cooler temperatures, increased humidity resulting in dew and fewer people, all contribute to a greater cottontail presence.
Rabbits are another reason Quartz Mountain Nature Park, requires dogs to be on leashes. Having a rabbit break out in a wild run, right under the nose, makes even the best trained dog want to chase. It is instinctive. After the chase your pet may be far away and unable to find you again, which is stressful and frightening for both owner and pet. Having a predator chasing, and maybe catching it, is not good for the rabbit either. Please keep dogs on a leashes not to exceed 10 feet while at Quartz Mountain Nature Park.
It is better for every bunny involved.