Vertebrate Pest Conference Proceedings collection


Date of this Version

March 1978


The jackrabbit, Lepus californicus, is properly called a hare rather than a rabbit, because the young are born fully furred and with eyes open. Hares differ from rabbits in anatomy and in the lack of burrowing, although individual hares often have a more or less regular retreat or "form" at the base of a bush or clump of grass. Jackrabbits rely upon speed and dodging to escape enemies. They live chiefly in open places, seldom inhabiting dense brush or woods.

Black-tailed hares or jackrabbits are classed as game mammals by the California Fish and Game Code, but when found to be injuring growing crops or other property may be taken at anytime or in any manner by the owner or tenant of the premises. They also may be taken by employees of the Department of Food and Agriculture or by county employees when acting in their official capacities pursuant to the provisions of the California Food and Agriculture Code pertaining to pests.

In recent years large roving populations of jackrabbits on airports have created serious problems to approaching aircraft. One such problem occurred at the Hayward Municipal Airport in Alameda County when jackrabbits caused a traffic hazard to approaching aircraft. The problem was compounded by domestic dogs chasing rabbits across the runways and dead rabbits being fed upon by scavenger birds such as gulls and turkey vultures.