Vertebrate Pest Conference Proceedings collection


Date of this Version

March 1964


Common California rabbits comprise two major genera. One, the genus Sylvilagus, or true rabbit, is represented by the cottontail and brush rabbits. The second of the two major genera is the genus Lepus, or hares. These are erroneously called the jack rabbits and snow shoe rabbits. The common jack rabbit, Lepus californicus, is the most familiar one throughout California and portions of some of the other western states. Because of their size and abundance, they are by far the most destructive - so emphasis will be placed on this species throughout the balance of this report. The diet of the jack rabbit consists mostly of available vegetation. This includes a wide variety of herbs, shrubs, and succulent grasses. Food consumption studies have indicated that about 12 jack rabbits will consume the same amount of forage as 1 mature ewe, or that 60 rabbits will consume about the equivalent of a 1,000 lb. range cow. Because of frequent feedings on seedling plants of cultivated crops as well as grain, bark of young trees, and young grapevines, control measures are often necessary. Also, in recent years, high populations of rabbits in the vicinity of airports have brought about potential hazards to aircraft and a reduction of the population in these areas has been necessary. The methods of rabbit control are several - including the encouragement of natural enemies, shooting, trapping, exclusion, repellents, and poisoning.