Black-tailed Jackrabbit
Lepus californicus

distribution map of Black-tailed Jackrabbit

Black-tailed Jackrabbit, photograph by Lauri L. Lear   Black-tailed Jackrabbit, photograph by Lauri L. Lear

Black-tailed Jackrabbits (Lepus californicus). Photographs by Lauri L. Lear.



Lepus is active from the early evening hours through the early morning hours (Burt, 1980). Most spend their inactive hours hidden in vegetation. They exhibit complex mating behaviors that include chasing, jumping, and aggressive behavior between the male and female. Copulation will then occur immediately following the chase. General aggressive behavior takes the form of biting, head butting, jumping, or avoidance reactions (Dunn et al., 1982). Jack Rabbits depend largely on hearing to detect danger. Ears will rise up to determine where the disturbance is coming from. If the intruder is at a distance, then Lepus will sneak away, staying low to the ground; if the intruder is close, then Lepus may freeze if surprised or promptly take off running (Dunn et al., 1982).

Literature Cited

Burt, W.H. 1980. A Field Guide to the Mammals: North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, 207 pp.

Dunn, J. P., J. A. Chapman, and R. E. Marsh. 1982. Jackrabbits. Pp. 124-145, in J. A. Chapman and G. A. Feldhamer, eds. Wild mammals of North America: biology, management, and economics. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

Heather Jasso, March 2000.


Last Update: 21 Jul 2009