The White-sided Jackrabbit, Lepus callotis,is an animal that is known for its grayish brown or fawn colored fur. This is one of the distinctive features of the rabbit but, like other species of jackrabbits, it also has other popular distinctive color characteristics: its whitish sides (hence the name) and black dorsal tail surface are two such characteristics. The limbs are generally white and so are the sides. These white features on the animal led to its naming. The jackrabbit is also known for its dark, bold ears that are either black, white or a combination of the two colors.
The animal is also known to be lankier and thinner than the regular rabbit species and has an average weight of 2.7 kg. Of the species, the females are generally larger than the males, having an average length of 588 mm while the males come in at an average 529mm.
White-sided Jackrabbits tend to inhabit high elevations. They can be found on the plateaus and grassy plains of New Mexico as they enjoy open grassy habitats. They are free roaming creatures and love open spaces. They do not like lands that are too mountainous or hilly and they do not like lands that are full of trees and bushes so they will more gravitate to the grassier areas.
Jackrabbits are definitely vegetarians! They feast upon various species of grasses such as Buffalograss and Tobosagrass, and also wheat grasses, such as Wooly Indian Wheat and Wright Buckwheat. They have never been found to eat anything that isn't green. In fact the only non-grass plant that they are known to eat is sedge nutgrass.
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 taste will tend to vary depending on how the meat is cooked. The meat is known to be eaten in parts of the United States.
These jackrabbits are somewhat nocturnal creatures since most of their activities take place at night or at dusk. They especially enjoy nights with bright moonlight and can be found partaking in a wide range of activities during this time. Eating, frolicking, bathing, etc. They are also somewhat solitary creatures and so are rarely ever found in large groups. Instead they are more frequently found in pairs as this is a mechanism designed to prevent any extinction threats in areas where the population density of the jackrabbit is low.
These jackrabbits are also known to engage in 'distant parenting'. This as adult males and females rarely make contact with their offspring. This limited level of contact is said to protect the offspring as lack of social contact is said to ward off predators. The breeding season is said to last a minimum of eighteen weeks and usually takes place around April and August of each year and during this season these animals are known to utilize several forms of vocalizations. There are three main types: one to express alarm or fear, another is used by males to ward off other males and still another that is used during sexual encounters.
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