Desert Duets: Black-tailed Jackrabbit Info Web Page

Information about Black-tailed Jackrabbits

Do you know how jackrabbits got their name? Their long ears reminded people of donkey ears so they called them "jack ass rabbits." (Another name for donkey is "jack ass.") Fortunately, that name didn't stick, and their name was shortened to "jackrabbit."

Black-tailed jackrabbits are also known as the "Desert Hare." Like other hares, they do not make burrows or spend any of their time underground. You can recognize a black-tailed jackrabbit by its long black-tipped ears and its black-tipped tail. Their ears are 4 to 5 inches long (10 to 13 cm). Their ears help them cool off in the desert heat.

Jackrabbits and other hares are different from rabbits. They do not build underground burrows or nests on top of the ground. Instead, they scrape a shallow hole in the dirt called a "form" They make a form under a bush or tree and rest there during the day. Mother jackrabbits give birth to their babies in the form.

Black-tailed jackrabbits have several ways to protect themselves from their enemies. They use their excellent sense of hearing to listen for predators. With their long, powerful hind legs, they can make leaps of up to 20 feet and can run up to 45 mph when they are escaping from coyotes, bobcats, and foxes. They are the fastest of all the hares.

Black-tailed jackrabbits are vegetarians. They eat cactus, mesquite tree beans, juniper berries, grasses, and crops planted by people in gardens and fields. They rarely drink because they get most of their water from the food they eat.

If you see a black-tailed jackrabbit in the desert, you will know why some people call them "los grandes." These are some huge hares!

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Launched: February 2008
Updated: 26 March 2017