Spring Frenzy!

Stillwater Diary, April 19. 2017
It’s mating season!
The birds are singing their hearts out, serenading their lady-loves, the mountain lion is squalling like a cat in heat (because she is a cat in heat!), and the jackrabbits are duking it out on the Great Plains.

This seems like a very peculiar ritual, but jackrabbits are nothing if not peculiar. In this video, they’re celebrating what’s known as the “Spring Frenzy.” I think this was the theme of a junior high dance I once attended, where we performed similar mating rituals.

It was once believed these boxing matches only involved males fighting for dominance, but observation has shown that females often box to hold off amorous suitors. Once again, this reminds me of junior high dances.
Mark Twain originated the common name “Jackass Rabbits” in honor of jackrabbits’ large ears, which resembled those of a donkey. With those large, sensitive ears and powerful back legs, they’re uniquely adapted to their hard lives on the Western plains.
It’s a good thing these adaptations kick in at birth, because no lady jackrabbit ever received a “Mother of the Year Award.” She  might scrape out a small depression in the ground if she’s in the mood, but then again, she might just drop her babies in the middle of a field. While she will nurse her young, she won’t protect them, so they’re born ready for action, with their eyes wide open, ready to outrun the owls, hawks, bobcats, and other predators who view them as tasty, tender snacks.
As adults, they can run up to forty miles per hour and leap more than ten feet. This is a good thing, because Chloe likes to chase them and I’m always afraid she’ll catch one. As you can see, they’re quite combative, and I suspect they’d kick the you-know-what out of my pretty little dog…
… who has no idea what she’s up against when it comes to the wild critters of Wyoming.