Friday, October 14, 2011

Hares & Jackrabbits

Many people are not aware that jackrabbits and hares are from a different genus than rabbits. Though their long ears and body appearance is similar, jackrabbits and hares usually have longer, more slender bodies and more powerful legs.
All hares and jackrabbits are members of the Lepus genus; most North and South American varieties are referred to as jackrabbits, with hare being the common name in the rest of the world.

Whereas most rabbits live and give birth in underground burrows, jackrabbits and hares nest in simple shallow depressions above-ground. They give birth to fully furred young that are able to survive on their own at a very young age.
There are 32 species of hares and jackrabbits with numerous subspecies of most. They can be found in a variety of habitats from hot deserts to forested mountain regions. Like rabbits, hares eat a large variety of plants, shrubs, grasses and small trees. All members of the Lepus genus play an important role in their respective ecosystems as a food source. For instance, the black-tailed jackrabbit, common to most of western North America, is the primary prey of bobcats, coyotes, foxes and large raptors.

Not that hunting the jackrabbit is an easy task; some can run at speeds of over 45 miles per hour!

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