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Jackrabbits aren’t rabbits at all, but a hare. Submitted photo/Lisa Vebber
Heather Patrice Brown, Development Coordinator, California Wildlife Center
5:22 pm PDT August 12, 2020

On July 15, California Wildlife Center received a species we don't see very often, a black-tailed Jackrabbit. The juvenile was brought to us from the Antelope Valley after getting stuck in a fence. He suffered a laceration near his right hind leg and a severe wound on his left front foot, exposing bone.

CWC staff performed surgery on the front foot to close the wound. Luckily all the tissue was still healthy, indicating the jackrabbit was rescued fairly soon after becoming injured. The patient was prescribed pain medications, and topical antibiotics and bandages were applied to both wounds.

Following the medical procedures, the jackrabbit was alert and active. He has had a healthy appetite and healed quickly. He should be ready to return to the wild this week.

Jackrabbits are not rabbits at all. They are actually hares, a separate species from rabbits which are larger, have longer hind legs and bigger ears. Their name is actually short for “jackass rabbit” because their ears are large like a donkey’s. This name was actually popularized by Mark Twain in his novel “Roughing It.”

Black-tailed jackrabbits range across most of the Western United States from Washington state down into Mexico. They prefer open habitats like deserts, scrubland and agricultural areas. Jackrabbits are most active in late afternoon and night when they feed on green plants and grasses, getting most of their water from the food they eat.

Jackrabbits are fast, reaching speeds up to 40 mph. This helps them escape their predators: coyotes, foxes, bobcats, badgers and weasels. When pursued, Jackrabbits run in a zig-zag pattern and flash the white underside of their tails to warn others.

If you find a sick or injured jackrabbit, get a box and line it with a large towel or newspaper on the bottom. Throw a towel over the jackrabbit’s face and body. Pick it up by the body, place it in the box and seal. Do not offer any food or water. Place in a quiet, dark location (for example, a bathroom) until you reach a licensed wildlife rehabilitator (CWC 310-458-9453). Place a heating pad set to low under half of the box.

Oh, Deer!

We still need your help to care for six orphaned mule deer fawns at California Wildlife Center. Your donation will help cover food and medical care until the fawns return to the wild in October.

Click here to donate today.

California Wildlife Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides medical and rehabilitative care to more than 4,300 sick, injured, and orphaned native California animals every year. Click here to donate today.