Cottontail, one week old. Furry, eyes almost open. About 3" long.

Jackrabbit, newborn. Fully furred, eyes open. About 5" long

When Is A Rabbit Not A Rabbit?

When It Is A Hare!

So you've found a baby bunny! But is it a cottontail or a jackrabbit? Not knowing can be deadly to the bunny.

Cottontails have a natural camouflage coat of tan, brown, and sometime gray tones evenly distributed. Desert cottontails, Arizona's most common species, have a rusty patch at the nape of the neck and up the back of the skull. Their heads are narrow viewed from the front, and egg-shaped from the side. Jacks have much darker coats with black "marbling" and often facial streaks. They have a snub nose, dome-shaped head, tan rings around the eyes, and a ring of white around the muzzle.

Blacktailed are the most common of the jackrabbits. They have black tips on the back of their ears and, when you flip the tail down, it has a black stripe that ends at the base of the spine. Whitetailed, Antelope, and the rare Whitesided are the three subspecies of jackrabbit.

Jackrabbits go through a dramatic physical change, becoming lean, muscular, angular; and those ears! They stand an average of half the length of the body. When lying down, the ears often reach the knees.

Antelope Jackrabbits are the largest of all species of hare

When estimating its age:

Jackrabbits are born with their eyes open, fully furred and able to run (precocial). Cottontails are born naked, blind, helpless (altricial).
The average weight for a newborn jack is 80-100 grams. (This is the average weight of a 3-4 week old cottontail).
Cottontails weigh about 30 grams at birth.
Jackrabbit mothers DO NOT DIG BURROWS. They separate their young, hiding them under dense vegetation.
Cottontails venture out of a burrow or hidden nest and are on their own at around 5 weeks.


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