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.

Black tailed jackrabbit
blacktailed jackrabbit

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.  
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.      

blacktailed jackrabbi


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Herbivore Mammals

Pygmy rabbit 
Desert cottontail 
Eastern gray squirrel 
Red squirrel 
Deer mouse
Kangaroo rat 
Meadow vole 
Mule deer 
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Carnivore Mammals

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Grizzly bear 
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  Long-toed salamander 
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  American bullfrog 
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  Northern leopard frog 
  Pacific tree frog 
  Great Basin spadefoot 



Painted turtle 
Northern alligator lizard 
Mohave black-collared lizard 
Short-horned lizard 
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Western fence lizard 
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Side-blotched lizard 
Longnosed leopard lizard 
Western whiptail 



Western pipistrelle 
Western small-footed myotis 
Little brown bat 
Yuma myotis 
Townsend's big-eared bat 
Hoary bat 
Silver-haired bat 
Fringed myotis 
Pallid bat

Sensitive Species (not a complete list) 

Greater sage-grouse 
Pygmy rabbit 
No. Idaho ground squirrel 
So. Idaho ground squirrel
Canada lynx 
Grizzly bear 
Selkirk Mtns. woodland caribou 
Kootenai White River sturgeon 
Bull trout 
Sockeye salmon 
Chinook salmon 
Steelhead trout 
Yellow-billed cuckoo