Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Lynn Chamberlain
Photo Copyright Lynn Chamberlain

The black-tailed jackrabbit, Lepus californicus, reaches a length is up to 24 inches and a weight of seven pounds. Ears are six to seven inches long. Color is a brownish gray with black on the rump and top of the tail. The belly and underside of the tail are white. Its color is relatively constant throughout the year.

The black-tailed jackrabbit is found primarily in open areas or brushlands of foothills, lower valleys, and desert areas of the state.

The black-tailed jackrabbit eats forbs, grasses, cultivated crops, and the bark and twigs of many shrubs and fruit trees.

The average litter consists of three to four young, but birth corresponds to food abundance.

The black-tailed jackrabbit is important as major prey species for most predators in their range. Many shooting hours are spent by hunters in pursuit of this species.

The black-tailed jackrabbit can be distinguished by its black rump and tail, long ears, and long hind legs. It is probably the most abundant and most commonly seen rabbit species in Utah.


  • Text modified from: Rawley, E. V., W. J. Bailey, D. L. Mitchell, J. Roberson, and J. Leatham. 1996. Utah upland game. Publication number 63-12. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Salt Lake City.