WHITE-TAILED JACK RABBIT
THE WHITE-TAILED JACK RABBIT is a large hare, and may be distinguished from other jack rabbits at all seasons of the year by its conspicuous white tail. This species has a heavy body, relatively large ears, and long hind legs. Total length about 24 inches; tail, about 4 inches.
Although large and relatively long, under ordinary conditions this animal is inconspicuous and rarely seen because when approached it often clamps its tail over its rump, flattens down its ears, and crouches motionless in order to escape notice. However, when listening, it stands erect.
The winter pelage of the white-tailed jack rabbit is pure white except for the black tips to its ears and a few huffy patches on the upper portion of the forefeet and about the ears and eyes. During the summer the general coloration of its body is a buffy gray, with sometimes a yellowish or brownish suffusion. In spring and fall these rabbits are in a transition shade between winter and summer colors.
During the latter part of June 1930, at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, I observed seven white-tailed jack rabbits in one day, and most of these had changed from their winter to summer coat. Three of these rabbits were feeding on the green lawns near park headquarters, two were feeding in a meadow near the buffalo paddock, and the other two were feeding on a pile of fresh green grass. One female that I watched showed a decided preference for the flowering stalks of dandelions, while another individual crouched in the grass and ate clover stems.
In Rocky Mountain National Park, on August 7, 1935, a white-tailed jack rabbit was seen at Tundra Curves on the Trail Ridge Road, at an altitude of 12,000 feet. On August 18, in the same general locality, another individual was observed at an altitude of 11,500 feet. This species appears to be increasing in numbers at Rocky Mountain National Park.
Last Updated: 01-Jul-2010