| Black Jackrabbits stand out in open terrain, but they live on a small, volcanic island (Espiritu Santo Island near La Paz in Baja California Sur) that is almost free of predators. They are abundant in valleys, on rocky hills, and on the lower slopes of the island's low mountains. No humans live on the island, birds of prey are few, and the only mammal big enough to take a hare is the Ringtail, Bassariscus astutus, which apparently preys on small rodents and leaves the hare population alone.
Nothing is known about this jackrabbit's lifestyle. Except for coloration and skull characters, it is very similar to a mainland species, Lepus californicus. It may have begun evolving separately 5,000-12,000 years ago, when the island separated from the mainland, and the absence of predators may account for its dramatic black fur.
Total Length: 574 mm; Tail: 96 mm
Bryant, W., 1891. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, ser. 2, 3:92.
Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).
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