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 Two baby rabbits huddled in a nest.
Look closely, and you may be treated to a sighting of adorable baby bunnies.

It鈥檚 spring, time for our adult and baby bunnies to enjoy warmer weather鈥攁nd for us to enjoy the happiness they bring us. Bob Conaghan, associate director of facilities, gives us some insights on our furry friends.

Did you know the saying that if you say, 鈥渞abbit, rabbit鈥 first thing on the first day of the month, you鈥檒l have a month of good luck? Rabbits have been associated with good fortune the world over for more than 2,000 years. They鈥檙e associated with spring and renewal (we鈥檙e looking at you, Easter Bunny). At Adelphi, our many campus rabbits are beloved members of our community and our unofficial mascots (second to Paws, of course). And while all the rabbits are adorable, the baby bunnies are a 鈥渃ute overload鈥 for sure.

Bob Conaghan, associate director of facilities, has been keeping track of Adelphi鈥檚 rabbits for the 44 years he has worked in grounds.

He said there is a stable population of 200鈥300 eastern cottontail rabbits who live on campus. Native to North America and wide-ranging along the entire East Coast, the cottontails are easily recognizable by their reddish or grayish brown fur, large feet, white bellies and fluffy white tails.

Adults weigh up to three pounds and, for the most part, they live underground and can have a lifespan of up to four years.

We may be tempted to try to catch and adopt a bunny, but the eastern cottontail is not domesticated and would never make a good pet.

Sunrise, Sunset and Yellow Flowers

Eastern cottontails are crepuscular, meaning, 鈥淵ou鈥檒l see them early in the morning, right around sunrise and right before sunset,鈥 said Conaghan, adding that they often congregate around the campus flagpole.

The Adelphi cottontails love to eat yellow flowers鈥攁nd flower bulbs. 鈥淲e plant 5,000 bulbs a year, and it鈥檚 okay if we lose 1,000,鈥 he stated. And with the grounds crew鈥檚 organic, no pesticide program, the rabbits have no danger of being harmed by toxic pesticides.

Nature鈥檚 Way

Rabbits are known for their fertility. The population stays relatively stable by letting nature take its course. 鈥淭heir worst enemies are dogs, cats and hawks,鈥 noted Conaghan. 鈥淲e鈥檝e seen swoop down and grab baby bunnies. But more mature rabbits move quickly in a zigzag pattern to escape predators on the ground.鈥

The rabbits freeze in place as a defensive measure and take off once a predator spies them. 鈥淭hey have an unbelievable sense of smell, and twitch their noses to open their smell sensors,鈥 Conaghan explained.

鈥淚 appreciate the rabbits. They鈥檝e been at Adelphi as long as we have,鈥 he added. 鈥淎nd who knows, maybe they bring us luck.鈥

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