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White-tailed Jackrabbit Lepus townsendii


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White-tailed Jackrabbit
credit: Adam Lowe/CCSA

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Family: Leporidae, Hares and Rabbits view all from this family

Description Tail is white, sometimes showing a buff dorsal stripe. Ear tips are black. Summer upperparts are yellowish brown (campanius subspecies east of continental divide) or grayish brown (townsendii subspecies west of divide); underparts are white or pale gray with a darker throat. Northern populations molt to white in winter (see previous plate). Larger than Black-tailed Jackrabbit, and females slightly larger than males.

Dimensions 56-62cm, 7-10cm, 2.6-4.3kg; / 58-65cm, 7-10cm, 2.5-4.3kg

Similar Species White phase White-tailed Jackrabbits are distinguished from Snowshoe Hares by larger body size, longer ears, and hair that is dark at the base.

Breeding Primarily nocturnal and solitary except during the breeding season, which may begin as early as February in southern part of range. Young are born fully haired, with incisors erupted and eyes open.

Habitat Grasslands & prairies, Meadows & fields, Scrub, shrub & brushlands

Range Plains, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, California, Northwest, Eastern Canada, Western Canada

Discussion Nocturnal. Feeds primarily on succulent forbs and grasses in summer, and uses wider variety of shrubs in winter. Introduced to Wisconsin. Uses open grassland, sagebrush, and meadows, especially on mountain slopes and ridges. Widest elevational range of any hare, from sea level up to 4000m.