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Courtship of the Mountain Cottontail


I posted this a few months ago but while I was hiking today I saw cottontails engaging in this courtship jumping and decided to repost this since now is when the action happens!

I’m very excited to feature wildlife biologist Robert “Pete” Pederson  talking about the courtship of the Mountain Cottontail (Sylvilagus nuttallii). Living in the high desert I have been completely enraptured on the few occasions I have seen the rabbits in action. When I saw Pete’s incredible photographs and video I knew I wanted to share them with you and was happy he agreed. This is a rare treat, these photographs have never been seen before.

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Click here to see Pete discuss the courtship behavior.  The video may take awhile to load but is worth waiting for. If it doesn’t work or seems to be in slow motion please try again. 


Click here to watch the rabbits in action. The video may take awhile to load but is worth waiting for. If it doesn’t work or seems to be in slow motion please try again. 



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“Pete” Pederson lives in Tumalo Oregon, with his wife, Gretchen, on 10 acres of native sagebrush, rabbitbrush and juniper with the peaks of the Three Sisters in the distance. He earned a Master’s Degree in Wildlife Management from Humboldt State University. He’s worked as a ranger for the National Park Service, and for the last 23 years as a naturalist for Lindblad Expeditions. After traveling the world from the Arctic to Antarctica and many areas in between, he believes that if you look closely enough, you can be just as fascinated with the wildlife close to home.


I’d love to hear your comments and if you want to subscribe to Light Seeking Eyes, put your email address in the subscribe box at the bottom of this page. You will receive an email when I post something new. 



  1. Jack Hardwicke

    I laughed out loud when I first saw the video! Fantastic

  2. Charlotte Hardwicke

    Hi Irene,
    Hope you are doing well. I love seeing your pictures on fb. Love the animal behavior post!

  3. Robert Storm

    Fascinating. It is amazing how we can overlook the behavior of wildlife until we stop and spend time observing and wondering why. Thank you Mr. Pederson and Irene for sharing this research with us. WHAT”S NEXT??
    This is getting good!!!

  4. Gina Yates

    Thanks Irene! Enjoyed that,

  5. Ellen

    Wonderful and Amazing! Many thanks, Pete and Irene!!!!
    Once while looking out a train window in England, I saw something similar- hundreds of jumping rabbits.
    It was perplexing.
    At last I understand it.

  6. Reese M.

    Wonderful fun! Please include me on future installments. XO!

  7. tricia

    Wonderful photography and video. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Janet Scott

    Wonderful video to watch for this Easter Weekend, 2016. I live in St. Augustine, Florida and have never seen such a sight! Thank you for sharing this wonderful and exciting knowledge.

  9. Malcolm Fraser

    Hi Pete and Gretchen,

    Wanted to thank you both for a fantastic expedition to Glacier Bay last year. Loved every minute with you guys. Malcolm and Tresa Fraser.

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