Friday, July 3, 2009

Little Ditty About Jack & Diane

I was crouched on the side of the trail snapping pics of a couple of poser jackrabbits, when a smiling older gent and his missus stopped their stroll, and he asked in a thick German accent:

"Excuse, please - do you know what kind these are?"

He had the cute toymaker accent, not the scary ark-of-the-covenant-seeker accent.

"They're Black-tailed Jackrabbits" I replied with a smile of my own.

"Sorry - but are they not Hares?" He asked quizzically.

"No worries," said I, understanding. "Yes - they are Hares - not Rabbits. Some scientists call them Desert Hares, but us Americans like silly names. These hares are named after a popular animal of the old west - the donkey," I rambled.

I realized then that his wife was likely not German, and was trying to work it out, so I sheepishly added: "They were originally called Jackass Rabbits for their ears..."

She laughed, rattled off some excellent German while making bunny-ears and then touching her bum, and her man started laughing too. She thanked me in English sans accent, they waved, and meandered down the trail giggling like granny & grandpa Beavis 'n Butthead. Too cute.

The guy had a point though. Jackrabbits aren't rabbits. Rabbits are the small, fluffy Lagomorphs that live in burrows and bear their young blind, hairless & helpless. Jackrabbits, as hares, live life on the run in the sun, and birth their wide-eyed, bushy-tailed & ready-to-go pups under a shrub on the way. They're born to be wild, not bred to be dinner. In fact, the two are so different they can't interbreed - hares have 24 chromosomes and domestic rabbits but 22.

Which is why the pair of wild "rabbits" we've recently started seeing around our Mariposa place is so perplexing. Because they very much seem to be acting like a mated pair, but one is our local California big-eared, buck-toothed fave, the Black-tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus:

Jack primping for Diane

And the other a wild yet sophisticated, gray and white (and way too cute) Feral Domestic European Rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus:

Diane relaxing

I've watched them hang out on multiple occasions. Chasing across fields. Nipping at each other, as they roll around in the grass and jump over one another's backs. Snuggling. Lying in the shade. Playing around in the back seat of Jacky's car. No - wait - that's the song.

Where one goes, the other follows. Jack is way faster (he can hit 40 mph), but he always waits for Diane. He's also much more skittish of people. But he always waits for Diane. Perhaps her hooking up with him is why she's surviving? He's showing her what to eat and how to avoid the coyotes and bobcats and cougars and hawks and owls and... I wonder if she's instinctively made a burrow or if she ranges free and sleeps under the stars with Jack?

jack and diane
Diane checking me out while Jack waits for her

Or maybe they're just a modern, hip, progressive couple that doesn't care about species OR genus. Makes me feel kinda bad for going all paparazzi on them...

"Hey Diane babe - that bogus dude is totally gawking at us again..."

"I know Jack my dear - just politely ignore him."

"Yeah, yeah, but like, just cause we're an inter-genus couple doesn't mean it's ok for them, to like, stare at us all the time! It's soooooo epically rude Diane. Oooohh - there's some tasty clover heads over here, babe."

"Be right there Jack darling."

Just two American kids doing the best that they can.


Some more jackrabbits & brush rabbits I've caught on digital:

jack striking a pose
The one-eyed Jack pose

"does he see me?"
The Albrecht Durer pose

Does he see me?

jack and cottontail
Jackrabbits and Brush Rabbits foraging together for safety

jackrabbit hangout
The Jackrabbit Conspiracy

pair of jackrabbits on a hot day
Two Jackrabbits on a trail run

freaky jackrabbit
A freaky camera-captivated Jackrabbit

stopping to smell the pretty face
A Jackrabbit stopping to smell the lilies


And now for something completely different -
Arthur: Where could we find this cave, O Tim?

Tim: Follow. But! Follow only if ye be men of valour, for the entrance to this cave is guarded by a creature so foul, so cruel, that no man yet has fought with it and lived! Bones of a full fifty men lie strewn about its lair. So, brave knights, if you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further, for death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth.

Arthur: What an eccentric performance.

Tim: There he is!

Arthur: Where?

Tim: There!

Arthur: What, behind the rabbit?

Tim: It IS the rabbit!

Arthur: You silly sod!

Tim: What?

Arthur: You got us all worked up!

Tim: Well, that's no ordinary rabbit! That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!

Robin: You tit! I soiled my armor I was so scared!

Tim: Look, that rabbit's got a vicious streak a mile wide! It's a killer!

Galahad: Get stuffed!

Tim: He'll do you up a treat, mate.

Galahad: Oh, yeah?

Robin: You mangy Scots git!

Tim: I'm warning ya!

Robin: What's he do, nibble your bum?

Tim: He's got huge, sharp-- eh-- he can leap about-- look at the bones!

Arthur: Go on, Bors. Chop his head off!

Bors: Right! Silly little bleeder. One rabbit stew comin' right up!


And we all know how this ended - with tears and the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch of course.




  1. Enjoyed this piece of writing. Waaaay cute and creative!

  2. A really enjoyable essay!

  3. What a terrific blog! I stumbled across your blog while trying to identify a lizard that we saw in east Texas over the weekend. It looks like a blue belly but I am no lizard expert. :) If you are in to identifying critters for people please email me at

  4. Hello, I found a rabbit behind my house who looks much like your Diane. Actually almost identical! Same colour same eyes! There is also a male and they let us pet them. We think that they were dumped there because we found them loose, with a nesting box and disgusting water. Well now the female bunny (Prim) and the male bunny(Thumper) have mated and Prim is preganant. Mom wants to sell the babies and it would really help if you knew Diane's breed. :) Thank you very much.

    1. Sounds like you've had quite an adventure Emma. I'm sorry, but I never learned Diane's breed, nor do I know anything about the breeds of European domestic rabbits. Maybe try a pet store?

  5. Okay, thanks though :) I'll do that! By the way, I love your blog! It's really funny and cute!


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