• Risk of predation and food consumption by black-tailed jackrabbits

      Longland, W. S. (Society for Range Management, 1991-09-01)
      Vegetation cover may afford many species of prey animals reduced risk of being detected and/or attacked by predators. In this study, feeding stations were provided for black-tailed jackrabbits (Lepus californicus) at 3 distances from perennial shrubs to test the prediction that the intensity of foraging by these hares would subside as they moved away from the presumed safety of shrub cover. Jackrabbits consumed significantly more food at stations under shrub canopies than at stations 5 and 10 m from shrubs. Thus, results are consistent with the hypothesis that risk of predation constrains the foraging activities of jackrabbits. The two-fold increase in food consumption near shrubs as compared with consumption away from shrubs implies that native plants or agronomic crops should incur lower levels of herbivory by jackrabbits when they occur at some distance from protective cover.