Funny that black-tailed jackrabbits aren’t rabbits at all, they are hares. Unlike rabbits, hares are precocial, meaning that they are born ready for life. Baby jackrabbits, called leverets, are born complete with fur, open eyes, and can run within just a few minutes.
And can they run. Adult black-tailed jackrabbits can reach speeds up to 40 miles per hour and can jump 20 feet. At the bottom of the food chain, they need the speed and leaping ability to escape predators such as foxes, bobcats, coyotes and mountain lions. Attacks also come from the air, as jackrabbits are tasty treats for eagles, hawks and owls.
Their huge ears, up to 7 inches long, enable black-tailed jackrabbits to hear really well, and can warn them of an approaching predator. The ears also serve another important purpose; they help keep jackrabbits cool. Since jackrabbits live in some very hot places, the ears serve as radiators to give off heat and cool the rest of the jackrabbit down.
Black-tailed jackrabbits live in the south central and western United States, from sea level to over 12,000 feet.
Plains, prairies, meadows, pastures, and desert scrub are favorite homes for black-tailed jackrabbits.
Black-tailed jackrabbits eat grasses, flowering plants, and even baby trees.
Black-tailed jackrabbits are 2 feet long and can weigh up to 6 pounds.
Females are called does, males are called bucks.
They are primarily nocturnal, but can be spotted during the day.
Unlike rabbits, they don’t live in burrows, instead resting and giving birth in a small depression or scrape in the ground.
They typically run and jump in a zig-zag pattern to confuse a chasing predator.
Black-tailed jackrabbit populations fluctuate wildly, with as many as 90% dying in a year. However, jackrabbits have a lot of babies so populations can quickly be restored.