The most common jackrabbit in Idaho is the black-tailed jackrabbit. The black-tailed jackrabbit has long ears and legs and is more slender than cottontail rabbits. Even though they are called jackrabbits, they are actually hares because, unlike the cottontail rabbits, they do not build burrows. The best way to tell if you are looking at a jackrabbit or a cottontail is to see if you can notice the tail and/or ears. Do its ears look oversized, like those of a donkey? If so, you are looking at a jackrabbit, not a cottontail.
The black-tailed jackrabbit is mostly nocturnal, because it lives in very arid, desert-like habitats where temperatures significantly increase during the day. The blood vessels in its large ears expand to allow blood to cool before re-entering its body. Large ears also help it escape predators with a keen sense of hearing, and then it relies on speed to escape. Black-tailed jackrabbits can leap and bound at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.
Habitat: Jackrabbits prefer an open, arid (dry) habitat, like the BLM rangelands of southern Idaho. Instead of building burrows, they builds nests under thick brush or shrubs.
Food: The jackrabbit is an herbivore, meaning that it only eats plants and no meat. It eats a lot of green plants and flowers very high in water content, so it does not have to find water frequently. It will also munch on sagebrush and cacti.