The Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, found throughout most of the Western United States as well as most of Mexico, will be rather easily found in both Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, although he may be slightly more numerous in the warmer climate of Zion. The Black-Tailed Jackrabbit is quite able to survive at any elevation from sea level in western California all the way up to 10,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains! As the name suggests, he has a black tail as well as black-topped ears and a brown coat peppered with black markings. At about 6 lbs., and averaging 2 feet in length, the Black-Tailed Jackrabbit is among the largest of the hares. Due to the large size and somewhat slow and low movement of a walking jackrabbit, many of our riders here at Rising K Ranch mistake a distant jackrabbit in the evening for a coyote; and because of the great size of his ears, there truly are times when you would swear that he has antlers and you’d just seen a “Jackalope”! The Jackrabbit’s long ears are thought to help him stay cool in the hot desert areas. This is possible due to the many blood vessels in his wide ears. Whenever the jackrabbot heads into a shady area for rest, his body circulates his hot blood up to his thin ears and finally back out into the desert air in a process known as vasodilation.
Since he is able to survive off of many types of shrubs, grasses, and sometimes even scavenge off of dead carcasses, the Jackrabbit is able to thrive almost anywhere. The Jackrabbit does not chew the cud in the same manner as a cow, but he does re-digest his food by eating his own droppings Although the Black-Tailed Jackrabbit does not hibernate, he typically will remain within a 640 acre area year ‘round, growing a warm coat for the cold winter months. Unlike the Cottontail Rabbits which also dwell in both Zion and Bryce Canyon, the Jackrabbit typically is not hunted by man for food and is only occasionally harvested for pelts. This is due to the fact that Jackrabbits are nearly always carrying many types of fleas, lice and other parasites. Eating the meat of a Jackrabbit is often a means of acquiring some type of fatal disease.