Black-tailed jackrabbit

Trick question, is a black-tailed jackrabbit a rabbit or a hare? The answer is a hare!

Jim Harper

Black-tailed jackrabbit


Trick question, is a black-tailed jackrabbit a rabbit or a hare? The answer is a hare!


Its long ears, tipped with black, and powerful rear legs are characteristic features that distinguish it as a member of the hare family.

One notable feature of the Black-tailed jackrabbit is its adaptation to nocturnal foraging. Under the cover of darkness, these agile creatures venture out to feed on a varied diet consisting of grasses, shrubs, and forbs. This nocturnal behavior allows them to avoid potential predators and exploit food resources under the veil of night.

When faced with imminent danger, the Black-tailed jackrabbit employs a unique escape strategy characterized by rapid zigzagging movements and the conspicuous flashing of its white underside. This behavior not only confuses predators but also serves as a visual warning to other jackrabbits in the vicinity, alerting them to the presence of danger.

In addition to their remarkable escape tactics, Black-tailed jackrabbits possess keen senses that enable them to detect potential threats from a distance. Their acute hearing and sharp eyesight allow them to remain vigilant for signs of danger, ensuring their survival in the face of predation.

Despite their name, Black-tailed jackrabbits are not actually rabbits but hares, a distinction reflected in their larger size and longer legs. These adaptations are well-suited to their open grassland habitats, where speed and agility are essential for survival.

Black-tailed jackrabbits play an important role in their ecosystem as both consumers and prey. As herbivores, they help regulate plant populations by grazing on grasses and forbs, influencing vegetation dynamics in their environment. Additionally, they serve as a vital food source for a variety of predators, including coyotes, foxes, and birds of prey, contributing to the intricate web of life in their habitat.


Population est.
United States

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No