Photo: 11 fantastic facts about jackrabbits

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While the black-tailed jack (Lepus californicus) isn’t a rabbit at all, that doesn’t make it any less impressive. In fact, maybe even more so. Consider the following facts about this native of the western United States.

1. Hares live in open areas – deserts and open plains in this case – and evade predators by running in a zigzag pattern; rabbits head underground when threatened.

2. Hares are born with hair and open eyes, and they can run and hop shortly after birth. Rabbits are born hairless, unable to see, and basically helpless.

3. The black-tailed jackrabbit weighs between four and eight pounds; reaching lengths of 18 to 26 inches. Adult females are larger than males.

4. Their signature ears are up to seven inches long!

5. Jackrabbits have eyes are on the sides of the head, allowing them to see not only what is in front of them, but also beside and behind them.

6. You know the sniffling bunny nose and twitching ears? Jackrabbits have exceptional hearing and sense of smell – all the better to keep tabs on the coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, foxes, hawks, eagles, owls, and snakes that want to eat them.

7. The jackrabbit can hop 5 to 10 feet at a time, and up to 20 feet in a panic.

8. They can reach impressive speeds of up to 40 mph!

9. When running at a moderate pace, they jump extra high every four to five leaps to get a better view of their situation.

10. They leap over things instead of around them.

11. As fast and agile as they are, they suffer in endurance and are often overcome by their predators; which has lead to their astonishing reproductive rate: Up to six litters each year with as many as eight young in each litter; babies begin reproducing at 8 months old.

And thank you to Mark Heatherington for the crackerjack jackrabbit photo that inspired this foray!

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