Fun Facts About the Distinctive and Solitary Jackrabbit

 

Backlighting Shines Through Jackrabbit Ears
The jackrabbit has huge ears that help to cool their body.

Did you know that jackrabbits are actually not rabbits at all? They’re hares, a genus which belongs to the same family as rabbits and is almost indistinguishable except for the hares’ larger ears and solitary lifestyle. Jackrabbits have especially large ears (nearly 5 in long) which help them hear for long distances distinctly and importantly let off heat. Take a look at the photo on the left which illustrates the veins and thinness of their ears.  Rabbits live in warrens, hares live alone. And there is a lot more I bet you didn’t know about jackrabbits.

Jackrabbits live across Central and Western North America. They like to live in wide, open areas which include deserts, scrublands, and farms. They are sometimes also known as the prairie hare. Their diet includes grasses and plants, including even cacti. They need to eat a lot every day to keep their energy up. Jackrabbits can run up to 40 miles per hour and employ a zig-zag pattern to their running to evade predators. The can also leap up to 10 feet at a time.

Long Ears of a Baby Jackrabbit
A baby jackrabbit’s ears display that distinctive length.

Just like other rabbit and hare species, jackrabbits produce a lot of offspring. A female can give birth to many litters of babies every year, each litter comprised of one to six jackrabbit babies. The children can run within half an hour after being born and require very little care and help. They are capable of foraging for food on their own after two weeks and are completely independent after two months.

Jackrabbits are nocturnal, meaning that they are most active during the night. During the day, they hunker down in “forms”, shallow depressions dug into the ground and typically covered in plants to conceal them from predators or passers-by. They also sometimes modify abandoned burrows made by tortoises during hibernation. This is unique among hares.

Jackrabbits are listed as a Least Concern, though several areas have recorded declines in their populations. No white-tailed jackrabbit has been seen in Yellowstone since 1990, and there have been none in Grand Teton since 1978. They were once abundant in both. It is even thought that they may be extinct in Missouri and Kansas. One reason for this decline may be competition with other jackrabbits and hare species. The black-tailed jackrabbit is more efficient at surviving in destroyed habitats than the white-tailed jackrabbit. Another concern is disease among jackrabbit populations, or poor weather. Further, because jackrabbits eat a generalized diet they can survive on crops, too. This has led them to be disliked by farmers, and it could be a large factor in their declining numbers.

Unfortunately, not much has been done in the way of conservation for the jackrabbits. Scientists recommend that further studies be performed to better understand the jackrabbits’ relationships with other species and the environment.

I hope you found this blog post interesting. Jackrabbits are very unique creatures that I knew surprisingly little about. If you have any other facts about jackrabbits that you want to share, please leave them in a comment below to add to the discussion. Also, if you have a request or suggestion for another topic you want to read about, you can leave that in a comment below, too! Until then, thanks for reading and goodbye!

3 thoughts on “Fun Facts About the Distinctive and Solitary Jackrabbit”

  1. Another fantastic read! Every time I read your blog, I leave with newfound knowledge and inspiration to go out and discover more about your topics on my own. With jackrabbits, I dug deeper to see what I could learn about their dwindling Yellowstone population. While I still haven’t found anything concrete, I do have some theories involving predation that I hadn’t considered previously. However, a fun fact I did come across is that the white-tailed jackrabbit, similar to the smaller snowshoe hare, has a gray-brown summer coat that turns almost entirely white in winter, when/where there is abundant snowfall, providing excellent camouflage. With their uncanny ability to blend into their surroundings and their incredible speed and hearing, it’s amazing that any predators are able to successfully catch them at all!

    1. Thanks for sharing more facts about the jackrabbit! That’s really interesting. I’m glad my blog posts inspire you 🙂

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