Black-tailed jackrabbit

Black-tailed jackrabbit Introduction

The Black-tailed jackrabbit, with its impressive ears and distinctive black markings, is not a rabbit at all. In fact, it is a species of hare that is native to North America—where it is known primarily by its colloquial name. Unlike rabbits, baby hares (called leverets) are born with fur and with their eyes open. This makes them able to run and move around soon after birth. The ability to run is vital to the life of a Black-tailed jackrabbit. Jackrabbits are at home in wide-open spaces with only limited vegetation, and they use their long and powerful legs to propel themselves at great speeds in order to escape predators rather than hiding. While fleeing, the Black-tailed jackrabbit can reach speeds of 40 miles per hour (64kph). The Black-tailed jackrabbit has markings on its fur which make it easily identifiable against other hares and rabbits. It has a dark stripe down its back, a characteristically black tail, a black patch on its rump, and black tips on its ears. Its range covers much of the western United States and parts of Mexico, stretching from Baja California to as far east as Missouri. Black-tailed jackrabbits tend to prefer desert scrubland habitats, but they can adapt to life on sand dunes, in areas of short grass sageland, and even around agricultural areas—where they have been known to feed on and destroy crops. Unlike rabbits, black-tailed jackrabbits do not generally live in burrows. Instead, they dig shallow but uncovered hollows in the soil and rest inside, protected by the camouflage of their varied coat pattern. The areas where they live are often quite hot during the day, so the Black-tailed jackrabbit has adapted to become primarily nocturnal. They spend cool evenings and nights foraging for food—mainly woody greens and plant matter. Because humans have removed many of their natural predators such as wolves and coyotes, Black-tailed jackrabbit populations have ballooned and in many cases need to be culled by hunters or ranchers in order to maintain a healthy ecosystem. Jackrabbits host a variety of ectoparasites such as fleas and mice. Humans can catch diseases from these parasites, causing Black-tailed jackrabbits to be labeled as pests.

Keywords to learn

Leveret: A baby hare during the first year of its life

Ectoparasite: A parasite that lives on the skin but not inside the body—deriving its sustinice from the host animal

About Me

Hey Kids, my name is Jackie the Black-tailed jackrabbit and I am very happy to meet you. Learn more about me and my species @



Key Data

  • Order: Lagomorpha.
  • Lifespan: 6 to 7 years.
  • Class: Mammalia.
  • Scientific Name: Lepus californicus.
  • Mass: 1kg – 3kg (2.8lb – 6.8lb).
  • Length: 47cm – 67cm (18.5in – 24.8in).
  • Region found: Western North America.
  • Population Status: Least concern. 
  • Current population trend: Stable.
  • Diet: Herbivorous.
  • Sexual maturity: 7 months.


The Black-tailed jackrabbit is an interesting animal and a true survivor in a variety of North American ecosystems. Adept at avoiding or escaping predators, the jackrabbit thrives in its natural environment and is a wonderful example of adaptability.


Now that you know more about the Black-tailed jackrabbit by learning the key data above, be sure also to check out the fun facts. When you are finished learning the facts, try answering the questions in the Q&A corner on the bottom right side of the page.


Download questions about the Black-tailed jackrabbit here:  Black-tailed jackrabbit (answers are on this page)


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Black-tailed jackrabbit Fun Facts for Kids

  • # 1. Female Black-tailed jackrabbits are significantly larger than males of the sample species. 
  • # 2. Black-tailed jackrabbits are rarely collected by hunters because of the harmful parasites that they carry. 
  • # 3. Black-tailed jackrabbits get most of the water they need from the plants that they eat. 
  • # 4. Black-tailed jackrabbits powerful back legs allow them to leap up to 20 ft (6m).  
  • # 5. Black-tailed jackrabbit populations fluctuate greatly due to disease, but they recover quickly.

Q&A Corner

# 1. What are two natural predators of the Black-tailed jackrabbit?


# 2. What is a baby hare or jackrabbit called?


# 3. What is the geographical range of the Black-tailed jackrabbit?


# 4. What is the conservation status of the Black-tailed jackrabbit?


# 5. How fast can a Black-tailed jackrabbit run?


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