How Did the Jackrabbit Get Its Name?
The jackrabbit gets its name from its long ears, which resemble those of a jackass, or donkey. The writer Mark Twain brought this name to fame by using it in his book of western adventure, Roughing It. Though it was originally called a “jackass rabbit,” this animal’s name has long since been shortened to “jackrabbit,” the jackrabbit is a hare, and not a true rabbit.
It has longer ears and longer legs than a rabbit. This large hare can run up to 45 miles an hour to escape its enemies. While running it often makes great leaps, or “spy hops,” as if to check on the pursuer. Jackrabbits hide most of the day, and come out at night to eat plants and farm crops.
There are five species of jackrabbits, all found in central and western North America. Black-tailed jackrabbits are common in American deserts, scrublands, and other open spaces, including farms. White-tailed jackrabbits are another common species. They frequent North America’s plains and farmlands, though they also inhabit wooded areas.