Jackrabbits are always a treat to see. Their awkwardly large ears and eyes and long hind legs give them a cartoonish appearance.
Although “rabbit” is in their name, jackrabbits are hares, which are precocial, meaning they are born with fur, open eyes and can move soon after birth. The white-tailed jackrabbit is similar in appearance to the black-tailed jackrabbit that also occurs in Nebraska, but as their name suggests, they have a white tail.
The jackrabbit’s range is shrinking across the central Plains as prairie habitats are altered by agriculture and, in some areas, overgrazing. Therefore, the white-tailed jackrabbit is a Tier II at-risk species, listed as vulnerable in Nebraska as outlined in the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project (OutdoorNebraska.gov/naturallegacyproject).
White-tailed jackrabbits inhabit sagebrush, open shortgrass prairie and sandhills, where they emerge at dusk to forage on grasses, forbs, shrubs, twigs and a variety of other plants. During the day, they …