Swamp rabbits (Sylvilagus aquaticus) are found in bottomland hardwood ecosystems that have canopy gaps dispersed throughout. During annual flooding of these ecosystems, swamp rabbits often are displaced to adjacent uplands or higher ground within the bottomlands. Trapping of swamp rabbits is reported to be best during times of flooding. We examined habitat characteristics at trap sites to identify the best suits of habitat characters to target when trapping for swamp rabbits during flooding conditions. We conducted trapping for swamp rabbits during a flooding event from 2 January 2007 to 3 February 2007. A total of 511 trap nights yielded 16 swamp rabbit captures, or an overall capture rate of 3.1%. We reduced the habitat data set using principal component analysis and identified habitat characteristics most important to trapping success using stepwise discriminant function analysis. Variables important for successful trapping of swamp rabbits were canopy cover, percent ground cover of leaves, distance to trees (i.e., tree density), number and stage of decomposition of stumps, diameter at breast height of trees, and distance to temporary water sources. Because some states list swamp rabbits as a species of concern, knowledge of habitat variables most often selected by swamp rabbits during a flooding event may assist with trapping for future studies concerning the species.
Smyth, Blair; Vale, Karen B.; and Kissell, Robert E. Jr.
"Habitat Factors Affecting Trap Success of Swamp Rabbits in Southeastern Arkansas During a Flooding Event,"
Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science: Vol. 61
, Article 16.
Available at: http://scholarworks.uark.edu/jaas/vol61/iss1/16