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Hares and Jackrabbits

Riverine Rabbit (Bushman Hare), Volcano Rabbit, European Rabbit

Jameson’s Red Rock Hare, Snowshoe Hare, Black-tailed Jackrabbit

Antelope Jackrabbit, White-sided Jackrabbit

Rabbit Information    Cottontail Information    Animals and Pests     Nuisance Rabbits 

Riverine Rabbit

The Riverine Rabbit, also known as the Bushman Hare, is one of the rarest mammals in the world.  See Riverine Rabbit picture.
Found in central and southern regions of the Karoo Desert in South Africa, this critically endangered rabbit is identified by its black stripe running from the corner of its mouth to its cheek.  This nocturnal creature has brown body fur, cream colored fur on its belly and throat and large club like hind feet.  Because their habitat is so close to the equator, this species only has one to two babies per litter and only one litter per year. Riverine Rabbit Bushman Hare picture
First seen in South Africa in 1902, it thrived from 1902 to 1948 when it disappeared again until 1979.  The Riverine Rabbit was seen in 2001 and when last identified it was put on the critically endangered list, which means there are less than 250 of this species left.  Its habitat is threatened because of heavy grazing of sheep and wild dogs, traps, dams that were built that dried up the land, and lack of irrigated land. Over the past fifty years, its habitat has been erased because of the cultivation of land.  Some farmers in the area have declared that their farms are ‘Natural Heritage Sites’ in order to protect these rabbits from further extinction.

Volcano Rabbit

The critically endangered Volcano Rabbit is found in pine forests and grassy and rocky terrain on the volcanic mountains of Mexico.  Noted as the world’s second smallest rabbit, this nocturnal creature is identified by its small round ears with white at the base, short legs, short thick yellow black fur, and light grey belly.
Volcano Rabbit picture.
Its semi dark fur helps them to blend into the surrounding rocks when hiding from predators. They live in groups in underground burrows and emit high pitched sounds instead of thumping its feet on the ground to warn others of danger. Volcano Rabbit picture

Adult Volcano Rabbits breed March to July and give birth to four babies from April to August.  Born in underground nests, the babies are helpless for two weeks, move about and eat solid food after three weeks and are independent after thirty days.
The volcano rabbit feeds on green leaves, herbs and alder tree bark.  During the rainy seasons they eat oats and corn.  Its habitat is erasing due to the overgrazing of cattle and sheep and the cutting of timber.

European Rabbit  Picture of European Rabbit

The most identified rabbit is the European Rabbit, which is what domesticated rabbits are formally known as.  Domesticated rabbits include all pet rabbit breeds including dwarfs and angoras.  In all there are fifty seven different established breeds of the domesticated rabbit.
The European Rabbit is identified by its sharp teeth, two on top and two on the bottom that grow continuously throughout its life. European Rabbit 
Some domesticated rabbits have up to twenty eight teeth. 
They have long ears, large hind legs, and short fluffy tails.  The European rabbit has padding on it hind feet to help dampen the shock of its rapid hopping.  Its long toes are webbed to help when jumping.

Young European rabbits are known as bunnies, kits or kittens.  Male adults are called bucks and female adults are called does.  They dig a network of burrows called warrens where they spend most of their time when not feeding.  Young bunnies are born blind, furless in nests and depend fully on the mother.  Domesticated European Rabbits make friendly pets if cared for correctly. 

European Rabbits in Australia

The European rabbit was taken as a pet in 1788 to Australia.  In 1859, twenty four of them were released into the wild causing pandemonium and major problems that are current today.  Because Australia had no natural predators, the European rabbit spread rapidly across the southern portion of the country causing 1/8 of the country's mammals to become extinct.  By 1869 over two million were said to be shot and killed, but it did not put a dent in the rabbit population.  Several methods were used over the years to try to control the population.  
From 1902 to 1908 three ‘rabbit proof fences’ were put up, the first running 1,139 miles north to south becoming the longest fence in the world, the second running 724 miles from the middle of fence number one to the south, and the third running east to west.  All three fences failed because of the erosion made under them by the rabbit burrows.
Conventional methods were also used, from flushing them out of the burrows with water or ferrets and shooting them with rifles, to poisoning which had a disadvantage because poisoned rabbits could not be used as food for humans and pets. 
In 1850 the Australian government released Myxomatosis (a disease that has become the main killer of rabbits) into the rabbit population.  The population dropped from 600 million to 100 million, but the rabbits eventually became resistant to the disease. By 1991 the population recovered to 200-300 million.  Currently they are working on a revised version of this disease to try to maintain the population.  With no way to control them, the rabbit population in Australia is still spiraling out of control.

Jameson's Red Rock Hare

The Jameson’s Red Rock Hare is only found in southern Africa in very rocky environments and in grassy or bushy areas near the mountains.  They use the large rocks for shelter while sleeping and resting during the day.  The Jameson’s Red Rock Hare has fine silky brown body fur, white chin, grey neck and cheeks and large reddish brown ears and tails.  They can weigh up to five pounds.  This nocturnal creature is a solitary animal, but has been seen in groups comprised of a mother and your young.  They feed at night on vegetation of grasses, leaves and certain fruits.

Snowshoe Hare    See pictures of Snowshoe Hare in Summer, Snowshoe Hare in Winter

The Snowshoe Hare gets its name from large feet that make their track look like they are wearing shoes.  These large feet have four long toes that spread out to move on snow easily.  They can travel up to 45 mph.  They have white fur in the winter and brown fur in the summer, a white belly all year round, and black tuffs around their ears which are shorter than other hares.

In Washington and Oregon where snow is less frequent, the snowshoe hare stays brown all year long.  They use their nose and whiskers to sense and smell danger nearby.  The snowshoe hare is slightly larger than cottontails and smaller than the black-tailed jackrabbit.  They eat tree bark and wood from aspen, willow and maple trees during the winter.  They also eat the needles off fir, cedar and spruce trees.  In the summer they eat grasses, clover, raspberry and blackberry shoots.  
Adult females breed with various males and produce one to thirteen babies twice a year.  They are born with fur, with their eyes opened, and are able to hop immediately.  Generally silent, the snowshoe hare shows annoyance by a series of snorts and high pitched squeals when caught.  They are found in spruce and fir forests with dense underbrush that gives them cover and provides them with food. The home range of the snowshoe hare is rather large and contains a network of trails that are traveled by hares, squirrels, porcupines and skunks.  They keep the trails maintained by eating the stems and leaves that block them. Active during sundown and at dawn, they rest under brush, stumps or in logs.  Found throughout Canada to the Appalachian Mountains in the east and the Rocky and Cascade mountains in the west, the snowshoe hare is also found south to South Carolina, New Mexico and California and all the way north to the Arctic Ocean.  Predators include the Canadian lynx, the red fox, coyotes, and the great horned owl.  Snowshoe hares that are one to two weeks of age are sometimes killed by red and ground squirrels.

Snowshoe Hare in SummerSnowshoe Hare in Winter

Snowshoe Hare Pictures

 

 

Black-tailed Jackrabbit    Picture of Black-Tailed Jackrabbit

The Black-tailed Jackrabbit is common in the western United States and Mexico and is recognized as the largest hare in North America.  They are identified by their long ears, long back legs, dark brown fur with a black stripe, and ears that are tipped in black.  It gets its name from its black tail that is white underneath.  This nocturnal creature eats cactus, sagebrush, mesquite grasses, clover and alfalfa.  They drink very little water getting it from the vegetation they eat. Black Tailed Jackrabbit

The black-tailed jackrabbit doesn’t use burrows, but rather rests during the day and rely on their hearing and speed to evade predators.  They can run up to 55 mph.  Predators are birds of prey, coyotes, foxes, bobcats and weasels.  They are known for thumping the ground with their hind legs warning others of predators or danger.

Antelope Jackrabbit     Picture of Antelope Jackrabbit 

The Antelope Jackrabbit lives on the grassy hills and plains of the southwestern United States mainly in Arizona and has adapted itself to urban areas.  It is identified by its grayish brown body color, white sides, brown face, throat and ears and a tail that is black on top and white on the bottom.  Antelope Jackrabbits

This very large rabbit has a body length of 24 inches, a tail that grows up to 4 inches, front legs that are 8 inches long and back legs that are 12 inches long.  It gets its name from the fast and leaping antelope.  The ears of the antelope jackrabbit grow up to 8 inches and are used not only for hearing but to reduce and regulate its body heat for survival.  Adult males and females do a mating dance with the male chasing the female and boxing other males for her affection. Breeding year round, they have one to five babies in each litter.  The young are born fully haired, eyes open and able to hop.  They scatter at birth but come back to their mother to feed.  
The antelope jackrabbit is a nocturnal creature that feeds in the evening and during the early morning hours.  They use a series of grunts and chuck calls to warn others nearby of danger.  They don’t dig or occupy burrows, but depend on their running skills when in danger.  Their tail also acts as an alert for others nearby showing its white color when it is running.  When running from danger, the antelope jackrabbit is able to move the white color of its sides up and down in order to confuse predators. Just before taking off, it flashes the white color in its side and then changes it to brown when coming to a stop.  The antelope jackrabbit eats fresh grasses, cacti and rarely drink any water.  They are often hunted as pests because of the damage they do to crops.

White-sided Jackrabbit     Picture of White-Sided Jackrabbit

The White-sided Jackrabbit is found in southern New Mexico to northwestern and central Mexico.  It is considered threatened in New Mexico.  They inhabit high elevations preferring grassy plains and level lands avoiding trees and shrubs.  The white-sided jackrabbit has five toes on its front paws and four toes on it back as well as sturdy claws.  The adult female is slightly larger than the adult male.  They have a cinnamon colored body with black specks, a white belly, black tipped tail and white sides and rump.  Its thighs are also white and are lined with black hairs. White Sided Jackrabbit

The white-sided jackrabbit breeds from April to August and have two young per litter.  After breeding, the adult male defends the female by using three vocal patterns: a high pitched shrill when in fear, grunts when other males are intruding and a trilling grunt used during mating chases.  They are very active at night and at dusk. When resting, they are camouflaged and keep their eyes open giving them a 360 degree view to see danger that might be lurking nearby.  They mainly stay in pairs. The white-sided jackrabbit eats several varieties of grasses as well as crops from fields and orchards where it becomes a pest.  It is protected in most of its habitat region.

Rabbit Information    Cottontail Information    Animals and Pests     Nuisance Rabbits 

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