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      Nature Report: Jack Rabbits

      At twilight the jack rabbits become active. Emerging from the shadows of the chaparral where they have spent the hot afternoon, the rabbits begin to forage on grass and fresh leaves of mesquite and huiasche.

      These large, long-eared rabbits are common throughout the open grasslands and arid brush country of southernmost Texas. Jack rabbits are so named because of their big ears which resemble those of a jack ass.

      Nearly the entire state is home to the black-tailed jack rabbit, as these adaptable hares inhabit almost every county except for the Big Thicket region of extreme southeastern Texas.

      Mature jack rabbits weigh some seven pounds, and the big hares rely on blazing speed when they feel threatened. When a predator is detected, the speedy rabbits can hit 40 mile per hour.

      Throughout the hot part of the day, jack rabbits relax in the shade with their big ears laid back. They do their best to keep a low profile and remain invisible. However, their luminous brown eyes and sensitive nose are alert to any potential danger.

      When they do venture out for a nibble of grass or other vegetation, they often pause for a little cleaning of their paws and face. Those pesky grass burs no doubt require regular removal.

      Jack rabbits are prey for large raptors, coyotes and bobcats and must maintain constant vigilance to avoid becoming a meal for a variety of predators.

      With Your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore