Antelope jackrabbit is the popular name for the black-tailed hair. The animal has been named "antelope" because of its unique ability ability to flash its undercoat of white like a pronghorn antelope. The reason for this behavior is not really known but it may be to warn other hares of some danger, to confuse a predator or attract a mate. The antelope jackrabbit has amazingly long ears up to 8 inches long (1/3 of its body length). Antelope jackrabbits are called el liebre, by Mexicans. During the day, they lie about under brush or sit in open places that they have cleared by nibbling away the plant life. In the evening, on moonlit nights and in the very early morning they venture out to eat a variety of green plants including tender stems, leaves from bushes and grass.
Ten Facts about Antelope Jackrabbit
- They can move as quickly as 40 mph.
- There are four species of jackrabbits found in the United States: white-tailed, black-tailed, snowshoe and antelope.
- If it senses any movement it immediately goes on the alert intently listening, then it speeds off. They rely heavily on hearing more than any other sense to detect a threat from birds of prey and carnivores. Jackrabbits shift their ears to hear.
- The Antelope Jackrabbit is found in a variety of habitat. It can be found in grassy hills or plains. It can also be found in the deserts of the southwest as well.
- The Antelope Jackrabbit has a body length that ranges from 45 to 60 cm (18 to 24 in.) long. Its tail will grow to lengths of 3 to 10 cm (1 to 4 in.) long. Its front legs grow from 10 to 20 cm (4 to 8 in.) and the back legs can grow from 20 to 30 cm (8 to 12 in.) long.
- Fresh grass is eaten after the two rainy seasons that take place each year, and mesquite and cacti are eaten in the dry seasons. The Antelope Jackrabbit rarely drinks water.
- The gestation period for a female is about 6 weeks, with an average of 2 young per litter.
- In the wild on average jackrabbits live 2-5 years.
- Fights can be serious enough to wound a jackrabbit badly, including torn ears, cuts, and even rare injuries such as one case where a male lost the paw of its forelimb.
- The primary predators of the Antelope Jackrabbit are coyote, red-tail hawk, Harris hawk, rattlesnake, gopher snake and bull snakes.