On a warm morning in the spring, Mother Jackrabbit is working quietly under the thick sagebrush. She is using her paw to scrape out a smooth spot in the dry, sandy soil.
Mother Jackrabbit covers the spot with some of her own fur to make a soft bed. Tucked under the sagebrush, the little bed is hidden from all other animals.
This bed is called a form. And soon Mother Jackrabbit will give birth to her babies here. This is why the bed must be so soft.
When the soft bed is ready, Mother Jackrabbit gives birth to three tiny baby jackrabbits. There are two girls and one boy. The boy jackrabbit is named Baby Jack.
Like his mother, Baby Jack has bright eyes, smooth brown fur, and a nose that constantly twitches. His big ears bounce up and down as he hops around the desert.
Jackrabbits’ ears can be longer than their bodies. Also, their long ears keep them cool in the hot, desert sun. These long ears allow their heat to escape, cooling the body.Even though he is young, Baby Jack is eager to explore his new world. His large ears pick up many wonderful sounds: the songs of a meadowlark, the barking of a prairie dog, and the “hooooo” of the wind blowing across the dry land.
As he sniffs the air, he enjoys smelling the sagebrush and the sweet cactus flowers.
Baby jackrabbits are born with fur on their tiny bodies. And they can hop about and explore their new world almost immediately after they are born!
During the hot desert days, Baby Jack does not explore. It is too hot for exploring when the sun is shining. Like his mother, he sits still in the cool shade of a clump of grass.
He feels safe in the shade. His brown fur blends right in with the soil and the dry grass. Hungry coyotes and eagles that are hunting for food cannot see him easily.
If an animal did come after Baby Jack, he would wait for the right moment. Then, in a flash, he would run away and find another safe hiding place in the grass.In the desert, almost every day is bright, dry, and sunny. But this afternoon, Baby Jack watches gray clouds gather in the sky. The day gets cooler and darker. Then, Baby Jack feels drops of water coming from above. It is raining!
Rainy days are rare in the dry desert. The rain is new to Baby Jack. He hides behind a rock when the thunder sounds and the lightning flashes across the sky.The rain puddles are quickly soaked up by the dry ground. The rain doesn’t last very long. Soon the sun will come out again.
The rainfall changes the way the desert looks. It makes all the plants blossom. Instead of being brown and dry, the desert is now filled with many different kinds of colorful flowers.
Baby Jack explores the desert and sees things that he has never seen before. He is amazed to see so many beautiful colors: green, yellow, orange, pink, and purple.
Baby Jack looks at the beautiful flowers and sees good things to eat everywhere! He hops to find his family. Soon they will feast on all of the plants and flowers.
As the bright sun begins to set each evening, Baby Jack and his family search for food. He hops from plant to plant, nibbling on grasses. With his sharp teeth, he can eat almost anything.
Mother Jackrabbit teaches Baby Jack to chew a hole in a cactus. He avoids the prickly spines on the outside and eats the moist part inside.
Jackrabbits eat all kinds of plant material, including the inner bark of trees. Also, they feed mostly at night when it is cooler. And their enemies can’t see the jackrabbits that well when it’s dark outside.
After Baby Jack enjoys his tasty cactus meal, he and his mother do some more exploring. Mother Jackrabbit’s powerful sense of smell helps her sniff out danger. She can smell a coyote approaching.Baby Jack is playing around in the dirt when his mother sees the coyote watching them from a nearby rock. Mother Jackrabbit knows what she must do. Jackrabbits use their hind feet to pound the ground and signal danger to each other. When jackrabbits hear this sound, they know that danger is quickly approaching. They must make a fast escape.
Baby Jack hears a loud “Thumpa, thumpa, thumpa!” Mother Jackrabbit is pounding one of her back paws against the hard ground. Mother Jackrabbit is trying to tell Baby Jack and the other jackrabbits that danger is near.
Baby Jack knows what it means. He must hide. Baby Jack immediately darts under a bushy plant.
Baby Jack will wait here until the danger is gone. The coyote sniffs around the bushes trying to pick up the jackrabbit scent.The coyote leaves when he can’t find any of the hiding jackrabbits. Baby Jack tenses his powerful leg muscles. Then — whoosh — he is off! He bounds away to meet up with his family.