January 24, 2017 at 5:54 am
This screen grab from a video uploaded by WeatherNation shows two jackrabbits battling at Catalina State Park.
A video currently making the rounds on social media shows two Catalina State Park jackrabbits not getting along so well.
The short video, first posted by WeatherNation, features a nighttime "boxing match" by the rabbits on a roadside in the park near Tucson. They go at it for a while, and then one of the rabbits runs off, with the other hare giving chase.
We checked with Brooke Bessesen, author of our recently published Arizona Highways Wildlife Guide, for some insight on this behavior. "It's always interesting to see not-commonly-observed behavior — and right by the side of the road, no less," she says.
Bessesen says it's long been reported that male hares compete, so most viewers of the video might argue that these two jackrabbits are males fighting for breeding rights. But she says a recent paper, published in the journal Nature, suggests that such interactions are more likely between a male and a female, with the female trying to avoid breeding.
So, whether this is two males or a male and a female, it had to be an arresting sight for the person who came upon them on the side of the road. To learn more about jackrabbits and other species native to Arizona, pick up a copy of the Wildlife Guide online or at major Arizona booksellers.