Tehuantepec Jackrabbit (Lepis flavigularis)
Before we meet a long-eared jackrabbit from Mexico, an announcement:
Like everyone, my daughter Coco and I have been saddened by the earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan this month. We’ve decided to have a Daily Mammal fundraiser to raise some money to help people and animals affected by the disasters.
Next week, beginning Sunday and running through Saturday, the two of us will post drawings of Japanese mammals. We’ll post a new mammal each morning of the week at 10 am mountain time. Our drawings will be for sale with all proceeds going to help victims of the Japanese earthquakes. Half of the money will go to the American Red Cross, to help human mammals, and half to Animal Refuge Kansai, a Japanese organization that’s rescuing animals who lost their homes.
My drawings will be selling for $50, or $60 with a mat. Coco’s will be $25 unmatted and $35 matted. (The drawings are 6″ x 9″ and the mats are 9″ x 12″.)
Please come back Sunday and all next week to meet some beautiful mammals from Japan and consider purchasing a drawing to help victims of the tsunami and earthquake, and please invite your friends to stop by, too.
Now on to the jackrabbit!
This jackrabbit lives in Oaxaca, Mexico, on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. It used to live in Chiapas, too, but that population seems to be gone. The rabbit is quite endangered; fewer than 1,000 individuals remain. It lives in savannas and grassy dunes along the shores of salt lagoons, and it is threatened by hunting, habitat destruction due to agriculture and human settlements, and fires caused by humans. I would venture that this jackrabbit’s enormous ears are not to enhance its hearing but rather to act as cooling devices, like the huge ears of the fennec fox. If you’d like to read a scholarly article about this hare’s home range and social behavior, here is a link to a PDF of one from a 2006 issue of Journal of Mammalogy by Verónica Farías et al.
Isn’t it sometimes so difficult to remember or even to believe that humans are just another kind of mammal? We would make the top ten list of anybody’s list of the world’s strangest mammals—if we weren’t the only ones who make such lists. In the two-volume Walker’s Mammals of the World, which I believe is one of the definitive reference works on mammal species, we humans are represented solely by images of astronauts. Isn’t that remarkable? Can you think of a better way to show what makes us distinct in the world? Well, you could show us as the only species that willfully destroys its own habitat (surely we are), but that’s a bit of a downer. We’re great apes…who figured out how to visit the moon! It’s amazing.
Anyway, a mammal named Coco drew the Tehuantepec jackrabbit, too, and her drawing is gorgeous. You will likely want to begin collecting her work next week, when you can still get an original drawing for $25, instead of waiting until she’s grown up and famous and they’re selling for $25,000.