Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Chihuahuan Desert Rabbits

Every day I see lots of rabbits out in the Chihuahuan desert of West Texas near my house.

There is the true hare which is locally called a Jack Rabbit. Officially it is an antelope jack rabbit (Lepus alleni). This guy is a strict vegetarian, and does not live in holes in the ground. The babies are born live with fur and their eyes open.

The other bunny I see every day is what is called locally the Cotton Tail Rabbit. It does build an underground nest, typically here in the sand hills. The desert cottontail is officially a Sylvilagus audubonii and closely resembles in appearance the European rabbit.
Wikipedia says that “Like most lagomorphs, the cottontail is coprophagic , reingesting and chewing its own feces; this allows more nutrition to be extracted.” My Daddy used to call rabbit scat Smart Pills. Well Golly, if these cute little cottontails are reingesting their own smart pills, they must be really intelligent.