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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

  Lagomorpha · Leporidae · Lepus townsendii

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Lepus townsendii

White-tailed Jackrabbit

Order: Lagomorpha
Family: Leporidae

Image of Lepus townsendii
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Conservation Status: Least Concern.

White-tailed Jackrabbits live at a remarkably broad range of elevations, from 40 m to 4,300 m, and where they are in competition with Black-tailed Jackrabbits, they tend to move toward higher elevations. They are slightly larger than black-tails, but seem to be more selective in their dietary choices, putting them at a disadvantage where the two species overlap. White-tailed Jackrabbits prefer grassland habitat, feeding on grasses and green forbs first, and resorting to shrubs during the winter months.They are among the most solitary of hares and usually interact only briefly during the breeding season, when small groups may be seen. A female may produce 1-4 litters, usually of 4 or 5 young, each year.

Also known as:

Prairie Hare

Sexual Dimorphism:

Females are larger than males.


Average: 589 mm males; 612 mm females
Range: 565-618 mm males; 575-655 mm females


Average: 3,400 g males; 3,600 g females
Range: 2,600-4,300 g males; 2,500-4,300 g females


Bachman, J., 1839.  Additional remarks on the genus Lepus, with corrections of a former paper, and descriptions of other species of quadrupeds found in North America, p. 90.  Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 8:75-105.


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Distribution of Lepus townsendii

Image of Lepus townsendii
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Image of Lepus townsendii
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