A strictly nocturnal species, during the day the white-sided jackrabbit shelters in depressions in the ground known as ‘forms’, which are usually constructed in clumps of grass (4). It rarely occupies underground shelters (5). Over 90 percent of the white-sided jackrabbit’s diet consists of grasses and sedges (2), such as tabosa, buffalo grass, and blue grama (4).
When startled by a predator, such as an eagle, hawk, owl, fox or coyote, the white-sided jackrabbit leaps straight upwards, while extending the hind legs and flashing its white parts. To escape, it makes rather long, high leaps, alternately flashing its white sides as it runs away. The long hind legs are highly adapted for speed, giving the white-sided jackrabbit lift, and enabling it to escape in a zigzag fashion that surpasses its predators (5).
A monogamous species that mates for life, the white-sided jackrabbit is often seen in male-female pairs, with the male defending the pair from other males. The breeding season, which lasts for a minimum 18 weeks (3), varies from the middle of April to August (1). Usually two young are born each season, but during periods of favourable weather, the white-sided jackrabbit may attempt to rear up to three litters in a year (1). The young are born with a soft woolly coat, and attain sexual maturity at a rapid rate, breeding at just over a year old (5).