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Black-Tailed Jackrabbit image
Black-Tailed Jackrabbit

Black-Tailed Jackrabbit


Black-Tailed Jackrabbit Baby
Black-Tailed Jackrabbit Baby

Black-Tailed Jackrabbit Habits

The nocturnal jackrabbit is well adapted to life in the hot desert and prairie regions of North America. It lives in open spaces among the thin desert ground cover of plants such as the sagebrush and cactus. Most of the time, the jackrabbit is solitary. Like all hares, it lives above ground. During the cool of the evening, the jackrabbit emerges from its resting place to feed under the cover of darkness. Its large ears funnel sound and enable it to hear signs of danger. Good hearing is essential to the survival of the jackrabbit, which is prey to wolves, coyotes, and pumas. In addition to its excellent hearing, the jackrabbit also has sharp eyesight. Like other hares, it will sit upright on its haunches so it can better view its surroundings.
The jackrabbit's eyes are situated on the sides of its head, giving it all-around vision which enables it to spot danger coming from any direction. Its fur is brown with black tips, which provides an effective camouflage against brush. When asleep during the day, the jackrabbit blends into the desert scenery unnoticed. Its long back legs allow it to run at high speeds to escape from danger.

Black-Tailed Jackrabbit Communication

Jack rabbits communicate by thumping their hind feet on the ground, but can scream when caught by a predator. They have three types of vocalizations as follows: 1) Used to communicate fear or alarm, 2) When a male protects a female from an invading male, and 3) During sexual chase.

Black-Tailed Jackrabbit Breeding

Jackrabbits normally breed 9 months out of the year. At the beginning of the breeding season, males box each other with their forefeet and chase the females, often kicking and biting them.
Young jackrabbits are born 6 week after mating in a concealed site above ground. The young have furry coats and their eyes are open. Soon, the mother separates them into individual hiding places. The young remain in their hiding places until their mother comes to suckle them. Eventually, they begin eating small amounts of vegetation in addition to their mother's milk. When the young are weaned after 3 weeks, the female mates again and produces another litter. The young are sexually mature within a year.

Black-Tailed Jackrabbit Food & Feeding

Jackrabbits leave their resting places at dusk to feed. Occasionally, they raid crops and cause extensive damage. When food is extremely scarce, they will survive by gnawing the bark of trees. The animals feed for short periods, stopping in between to rest. Long, chisel-like incisor teeth bite the stems of grass and herbs, which are then chewed and shredded by the flattened molars.

Black-Tailed Jackrabbit Key Facts

              Height: Length: 24 in., head to tail. Ears, 8 in. long
              Weight: Around 11 lb. Females are slightly heavier
             Sexual maturity: 8 months
             Mating: January-September. Spring is peak time
             Gestation: 41-47 days
             Number of young: Up to 6. Females may have 3-4 litters a year
            Habit: Nocturnal, solitary except in breeding season
            Diet: Grasses, herbs, succulents, woody twigs, and bark
            Lifespan: 1-5 years in the wild



  • Jackrabbits living in the desert rarely drink water. They obtain all the moisture they need from water-retaining plants such as cacti.
  • Jackrabbits can reach a speed of 50 miles per hour and can leap as high as 5 feet.
  • The undersides of a jackrabbit's feet are covered with long, brushlike hairs, which provide both a grip and a soft cushion on hard surfaces.
  • A female jackrabbit usually suckles her young once a day, spending no longer than 5-10 minutes with them.
  • There are 21 species of jackrabbit and hare in the United States. The white-tailed jackrabbit lives in the Northwest.

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