Although the Black Tailed Jackrabbits are known as jackrabbits, they are, in fact, hares, rather than rabbits. Hares produce babies that are fully furred and their eyes are open at birth. They are known as leverets. These hares live in extreme environments like deserts that have hot daytime temperatures and cold nighttime temperatures. Water is scarce.
They are especially known for their huge ears. This helps the rabbit regulate its body heat. Their blood flow increases and decreases through their ears, allowing them to cool off or warm up. They like to live in open areas where it is easy to see approaching predators.
Jackrabbits have long legs and can run in short bursts up to 36 miles per hour. They outrun most of their predators.
At maturity, they range from 9 to 13 pounds. They don't breed until they are at least a year old, after which a doe will have a litter of 1 to 6 leverets every 3 or 4 months. The babies are hidden in separate hiding places, and the doe visits each one in the evening to feed them. At the age of one month, they are on their own.
Jackrabbits eat tough grasses, twigs and leaves, including sagebrush and even cacti. They conserve water by digesting their first feces again, just like rabbits. Most of their water comes from the plants they eat. They eat quite a lot; it has been estimated that 15 rabbits can eat as much as a single adult cow in one day.
The Black Tailed Jackrabbit is found in the
western United States and the northern part of Mexico. Many people
consider them pests and have put out poisons and built fences to keep
them away. Their population numbers can get quite high during good
conditions, rising to more than 1500 animals per square kilometer.
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