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Certain Aspects of Behavior of the Black-tailed Jack Rabbit

R. R. Lechleitner
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 60, No. 1 (Jul., 1958), pp. 145-155
DOI: 10.2307/2422471
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2422471
Page Count: 11
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Certain Aspects of Behavior of the Black-tailed Jack Rabbit
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Abstract

Observations were made on a population of black-tailed jack rabbits on the Gray Lodge Waterfowl Management Area, Butte County, California, over an 18-month period. Approximately 100 of the hares were captured and marked with plastic ear discs, and released. No social organization or family structure could be detected among the adult hares. Jack rabbits prefer rather open areas with a good supply of small succulent plants for feeding. The height of feeding activity occurs in the evening, but (depending upon the time of year and the weather) jack rabbits may feed at any time. Jack rabbits construct forms in which they rest. The pattern of use and construction of these is variable. The hares may react to alarm by freezing, creeping away or fleeing rapidly. The particular reaction apparently depends on the type and suddenness of the alarm, and on the situation in which the hares are located. The alarm appears to spread from one hare to others in the group. Jack rabbits swim readily and well if pressed. Under ordinary circumstances they seem to avoid water. Sexual activities can be classified into the following categories: the hunt, the approach, the chase, the boxing match, and copulation. Any or all of these activities can end quickly and be replaced by some other behavior. Pregnant female jack rabbits avoid approach by others and react in a rather antagonistic manner. This antagonism seems to lead to a spacing of hares and may be considered a type of territorial behavior. Almost all of the sexual and aggressive behavior appears to be intimately related to the breeding season. The lack of antagonism between jack rabbits appears indicative of the lack of reproductive activity in the population.

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