Black-Tailed Jackrabbit

QUICK FACTS

Scientific Name

Lepus californicus

Species Survival Plan

No

Habitat

Open grasslands and desert scrub

Predators

Coyote, fox, bobcat, snake, hawk, other birds of prey and man

Food

Grasses and plants including cactus

Originally Native To

North America

Height

24 inches

Weight

3 - 9 lb.

Characteristics

Long ears with black tips; back legs longer than front legs

Gestation Period

41 - 47 days

Birth Season

Several times per year

Lifespan

Wild 1 - 5 years / Captivity ?

Social Behavior

Generally solitary

iucn_badge_least_concern

ABOUT BLACK-TAILED JACKRABBIT

Jackrabbits are not rabbits; they are actually hares, which are larger than rabbits and generally have longer ears and hind legs. They are fast animals, capable of running 40 miles per hour.

Those long back legs can propel them more than three feet in the air. Their habit of running in a back-and-forth pattern helps in predator evasion.

Females are capable of giving birth several times per year, and this rapid influx of animals with ravenous appetites can pose quite a problem to farmers. Females do not provide a nest for their young, which are raised with only the benefit of vegetative covering for protection. The young are born with hair and eyes wide open.

The hare’s preferred foods include grasses and other plants like cactus. They will spend the hottest part of a summer’s day in a shallow depression under the shade. During the winter, they tend to seek shelter in taller grass to protect them from the chilling winds.

Feeding is carried out primarily in the evening and nighttime hours. Its incisors never stop growing, so the hare must continually gnaw on vegetation to keep them worn down.

Their eyes are located on the sides of the head to allow them to see in all directions. This is mostly to detect movement rather than to get a sharp image.

Their sense of hearing and eyesight are quite developed, and observers will normally see their eyes and ears in near-constant motion, always checking out activity in their environment. This is because hares seem to be one of the most ideal food sources on the planet.

The feces of jackrabbits include two types. The first is a softer pellet that still has vitamins and protein contained in it. This is consumed by the hare and the second time it passes through its system the protein and vitamins are absorbed before a dry pellet is excreted.

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ANYTHING YOU GIVE HELPS THE ANIMALS

As a private nonprofit corporation, Fossil Rim does not receive national or state government support. Every cent spent or donated here goes in some way, directly or indirectly, toward the care of our animals.