Jack Rabbit
This big fellow scared the heck out of Vern one day in the desert north of Kingman. He was locating a telephone line that had been run temporary through the brush, being a little concerned about rattle snakes. He must have sat quietly until I got too close and off he went and so did Vern's heart. The rabbit was at least 3 feet tall and I really thought it was a dog at first.

After that he and his family took a drive north of town and saw that a couple Jack Rabbits had been hit by cars. They reminded him of deer being hit.

The jack rabbit is one of the most common wild animals in the area. They are relatively adapted to humans and don't run on sight but they don't allow you to walk right up to them either. Once they do start moving, they are FAST!

The jack rabbit is a hare, ie, a lagomorph of the running type (hares) rather than the burrowing type (rabbits). Unfortunately, lagomorphs can be agricultural pests and in our neighborhood, young grape vines have to be protected from them. His huge ears provide good early warning protection from some predators and a very important heat-radiating mechanism in our hot summers.

The Black-tailed Jack Rabbit is 18 to 25 inches long and is colored buff peppered with black above, and white below. The tail has a black stripe above. The ears are long and brown with black tips. The Antelope Jack is approximately the same size, but colored gray above with the lower sides mostly white. The face, throat and ears are brownish, but there is no black tip on the ears.

Life Cycle

The Black-tailed Jack is by far the most common and is found all over the south west mountainous areas at elevations above 12,000 feet. (Kingman is at 1100 ft. while just east is the highest mountain at 8400 ft.) They adapt themselves readily to man's use of the land and thrive even in highly developed areas.

In the more temperate areas of the Black-tailed Jack's range, breeding may continue the year around. Usually several litters are born each year. Here again there may be as many as 8, but the average litter is from 2 to 4. The mother hides her young when she goes out to feed, and, upon returning, mother and young call to locate each other.

They grow rather rapidly and reach adult size in about 7 or 8 months. Sexual maturity is attained at about the same time, but young females do not breed until early in the year following their birth. Usually, the expectant mother provides no nest for her young.

Hares have many natural enemies. Coyotes, Bobcats, foxes, Horned Owls, hawks and snakes prey on both the young and adults. At higher elevations the Marten and Fisher also prey on the Snowshoe.

Hares are active primarily at night. During the day they lie crouched in a "form" which they have made by using the same spot in a clump of grass or weeds. With their long ears flattened against their back, they are difficult to see. Frequently on hot summer days, they can be seen resting in the shade of a small bush or even a fence post. When frightened they run with such speed that few dogs can catch them. At the start of the chase their speed is broken by high long leaps.

Hares are strict vegetarians, eating a great variety of herbs and shrubs. In farming areas the Black-tailed Jack may become a serious pest in young orchards and to other agricultural crops.

It is estimated that nearly 2 million "Jack Rabbits" are taken by hunters annually in just California. The flesh is excellent eating. In periods of high population, some Black-tailed Jacks, like other game and non-game species, may become diseased and carry tularemia or be a host to common animal parasites. While this is of minor consequence to humans, care should be used in handling or skinning all animals, as some diseases are transmissible through open cuts or abrasions. Cooking thoroughly eliminates any danger.