A Black-tailed Jackrabbit can easily be identified with the black stripe it has running down the center of its back. The species is normally of a brownish color but is also known for its black rump patch and its black dorsal tail. These are its characteristic features. These jackrabbits are generally taller and thinner than the average normal rabbit, having ears that are about 10-13 cm long and tails that are between 50-112 mm in length. The average overall length of the jackrabbit is 46-63 cm from nose to rump. Both the males and females generally look very much alike and so its hard to tell them apart. The females however, are known to be the larger sex.
These jackrabbits just love grasslands; vast extensive grasslands with sparse vegetation. They can live in a range of habitats however, with elevations ranging from sea level to about 3800 meters. They are generally found in open pastures and thrive on overgrazed lands. These jackrabbits also stay close to vegetation such as sagebrush-creosote bush, mesquite-snake weed and juniper-big sagebrush. The most suitable habitats for them are temperate and terrestrial.
The Black-tailed Jackrabbit is known to eat from a variety of food sources. The majority of its diet is however, made up of grasses and herbaceous plants as well as various other agricultural crops. They also enjoy eating twigs and the bark of young woody plants when other food sources are unavailable. These jackrabbits are also known to be constantly eating and rarely need a drink of water because of this. They obtain most of the water that their body needs from the vegetation that they eat. In the summer they mainly eat the green vegetation but in the winter, they feed primarily on dried, woody plants.
There is a high prevalence of diseases and parasites in the wild jackrabbit population. It is therefore advisable that hunters take great care when handling these carcasses and also ensure that they cook the meat thoroughly before consuming. The meat is dark and lies somewhere between the color of duck meat and beef. The meat is known to be eaten in parts of the United States and various other countries such as France and England.
The Black-tailed Jackrabbit is a species that depends mainly on speed and camouflage for protection and safety. They also have a characteristic 'freeze' behavior that makes up its defense mechanism. They can reach speeds of up to 35 mph when traveling a given course. When being preyed upon, they take full advantage of these abilities.
These Jackrabbits can be described as unsociable creatures; preferring to operate alone instead of in groups. Very rarely do they ever congregate. These rare occasions are mainly during the mating season when males and females come together. During this season, some amount of aggression is also shown among the species, who are otherwise very calm. This aggression is mainly portrayed by males who feel threatened by other males and also by females who are trying to avoid males.
Jackrabbits are also known to take pride their grooming. They take frequent dust-baths and also conduct several cleaning routines. During a dust bath, they will make a shallow depression in the soil which they will roll in before sitting upright and licking themselves.
Black-tailed Jackrabbit feeding
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