How to Find Rabbits

Knowing what to look for when searching for rabbit spots saves you from wasting time checking out less than ideal spots. In  Florida we have two types of rabbits, marsh rabbits (not to be confused with swamp rabbits) and cottontails. Marsh rabbits can typically be found in thick briars around most of Florida, especially if the ground has standing water. Cottontails tend to prefer longer field grasses and can be found on farms or in small overgrown lots. Many of these spots are visible at a distance, but it’s always worth your time to hop out of your car and check out the field on foot.

Photo – Cessna the red tailed hawk, and Weasel her hunting partner with their catch of the day.

What to Look For?

Along with briars there are several other plant species that offer protection and/or food to rabbits. If you see fields with these plants, especially in large numbers, they are worth checking out. However, if you are unable to flush any rabbits, or see no signs of rabbit poop (which will be just about everywhere with high populations) it’s best to head back to the car and keep searching. As stated previous, a spot can be perfect, but still lacking a key requirement that we may well be unaware of.

Photo-Briars: The thicker the better. Thick briars provide some safety from predators like coyote and bobcats therefore usually support more rabbits.

Rabbits eat the tender shoots of these and also enjoy eating the bark in the winter when grass is scarce.
Caesar weed. Rabbits eat them quite a bit in late summer early fall.
Lantana: usually found in dryer areas and a good spot to find cottontails. While typically poisonous, they provide shelter.
Brazilian pepper: difficult to hunt but usually holds quite a few rabbits because of the fortress it provides keeping them safe.
Bidens alba or spanish needles, food for both people and rabbits.

Old orange groves that are no longer maintained are a great place to look for cottontails. The fertile soil often leads to thick grasses that rabbits will hide in for protection, along with a high content of plants the rabbits will eat for food. If you see old orange groves it’s always worth checking out the field for signs of rabbits (poop, plants where the bases have been chewed, tracks).

Old and fresh rabbit poop. Older rabbit poop is lighter in color and also dryer.
Deer poop! This can sometimes be spread out and is often confused for rabbit poop.
Rabbit tracks! These are great to find. A sure sign that rabbits are around somewhere or have passed through the area.
Rabbit poop as seen on the ground.
Breeding grounds! This grass offers almost impenetrable protection to rabbits and is often where they will hide. Try to flush rabbits along the edges of this grass, or away from it. A hawk and dog will have little to no luck pursuing rabbits into this grass.