|MadSci Network: Zoology|
You've hit a regular argument with all species that look similar. However the universal truth is that unless the species are recently separated genealogically, there is no chance. While lions and tigers, for example look skightly different, in fact they are very close in their genus group and can indeed mate. Unfortunately, hybrid animals cannot breed themselves, so there are no "grandchildren".
The cottontail or "rabbit" in Ohio is a member of one of three groups of
the order Lagomorphs :
the European rabbit type (common nowadays throughout the continents!)
the cottontails, and
None of these three groups can breed outside the group and it's doubtful whether even the closely related species - with the same first name (genus)-can mate like the liger or the mule!
This is what happened in an early attempt to breed animals which are obviously not very "compatible!"--------------
"Previous attempts to obtain young from domestic rabbits by insemination
with epididymal spermatozoa from hares (Lepus timidus ainu or Lepus
europus) have proved unsuccessful. The possibility, however, that
fertilization and a limited amount of embryonic development may have
occurred has not so far been investigated. Recently, it was found that in
rabbits inseminated with epididymal spermatozoa from the eastern cottontail
rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus), 37 per cent of the eggs were fertilized but
degeneration occurred at all stages before or at biastulation. The
experiment described here was undertaken to determine whether fertilization
occurred in rabbits inseminated with hare spermatozoa and, if so, at what
stage development ceased. "
REF.: C.E. ADAMS (1957) An Attempt to cross the Domestic Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and Hare (Lepus europćus) Nature 180, 853.
I hope the scientific approach doesn't put you off but this is a rare objective attempt to do the impossible. It is possible that two hare or rabbit species could interbreed quite easily and it certainly will have happened during the process we call speciation (as new species are formed). However, with the rarity of some species and little interest in groups outside the massive Rodent order, no-one is trying any experiments so far. This answer is a little non-directional, but I intend to do this for you. I want to leave you with the idea that the answer is no, but similar species COULD interbreed. Is that OK with you, Jacob?
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Zoology.