Animal Fact Sheet: Black-tailed Jackrabbit

Photo of jackrabbit by Paul Berquist

Identifying Features

The black-tailed jackrabbits (Lepus californicus) most identifying feature is its huge ears. The ears along with the tail are tipped with black fur. It has long slender front legs and large hind feet that can be 5 inches in length.


The large ears of this hare help it to lose heat and thereby cooling its body temperature. They have large eyes that are high on their head and placed toward the side. This along with the fact that their head is slightly flat allows them to see almost 360 degrees (a full circle) helping to spot predators.


They like open flat places along with desert scrub and mesquite grasslands.


They are found from Baja California and south-central Mexico to west-central and western United States.

Wild Status

Jackrabbits are not threatened or endangered.


These hares are herbivores, feeding on grasses, leaves, clover, alfalfa, twigs, seeds, beans, twigs and cacti.


Jackrabbits are an important food source for many animals. These can include coyotes, Red-tailed Hawks, Ferruginous Hawks, eagles, foxes, bobcats, and humans.


Jackrabbits will often rest in the shade during the heat of the day in a shallow depression under grass or bushes. They do not live in burrows. They will often forage or rest in groups relying on the eyes and ears of each other for protection. Females will give birth in thick brush or in depressions lined with fur.

Life Span

In the wild on average jackrabbits live 2-5 years. They usually live longer when in a zoological setting.


Adult black-tailed jackrabbits weigh from 3-7 pounds and are about two feet in length.

Extra Fun-facts

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Retrieved from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum web site on 06-23-2024