Indian hare

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Indian hare[1]
Indian hare by N A Nazeer.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Lagomorpha
Family: Leporidae
Genus: Lepus
Species: L. nigricollis
Binomial name
Lepus nigricollis
F. Cuvier, 1823
Indian Hare area.png
Indian Hare range
(green - native, red - introduced, dark grey - origin uncertain)
Individual at Bandipur National Park

The Indian hare (Lepus nigricollis), also known as the Black-naped Hare, is a common species of hare found in the Indian Subcontinent.[3] and in Java.


There are 7 recognized subspecies of Indian hare.

  • Lepus nigricollis aryabertensis
  • Lepus nigricollis dayanus
  • Lepus nigricollis nigricollis
  • Lepus nigricollis ruficaudatus
  • Lepus nigricollis sadiya
  • Lepus nigricollis simcoxi
  • Lepus nigricollis singhala


Lepus ni­gri­col­lis are also called black-naped hares due to the patch of black fur that runs along the nape of the neck. The top of the tail is also black and the back and face are brown with black hairs scat­tered through­out. The un­der­parts are white. Total length ranges from 40 to 70 cm and weight ranges from 1.35 to 7 kg.

Like all hares, they have long ears and large hind feet which are well furred. There is some ev­i­dence that hares that have been in­tro­duced to is­lands are smaller than those in main­land India. Re­gard­less of lo­ca­tion, fe­male L. ni­gri­col­lis tend to be larger than males.


Usually they spend much of the day­time sleep­ing in "forms" or de­pres­sions made in the grass. Oc­ca­sion­ally they will be seen stretched out on their sides, sun­ning them­selves. They are pri­mar­ily di­ur­nal and soli­tary, though may ag­gre­gate some­what for breed­ing.


Dur­ing mat­ing sea­son, male be­come ag­gres­sive, spar­ring with other males using their forepaws and "box­ing" with their hind feet. Males will at­tempt to mate with as many fe­males as they can. Re­pro­duc­tion rates tend to be at their high­est dur­ing the wet sea­son, though L. ni­gri­col­lis will gen­er­ally breed year round. The in­creased rate of re­pro­duc­tion is likely the re­sult of an in­crease in nu­tri­ent rich foods. On av­er­age, 69% of adult fe­males are preg­nant every year. In L. ni­gri­col­lis dayanus, re­pro­duc­tion is also de­pen­dent on the length of the day. One to eight young are born after a ges­ta­tion pe­riod of 41 to 47 days. Sex­ual ma­tu­rity oc­curs in the year fol­low­ing birth.

Young hare, called lev­erets, are pre­co­cial at birth. They are born well furred and with open eyes. The fe­male gives birth in a "form", or hol­low made in the grass. She will hide her young in dense veg­e­ta­tion and visit them for nurs­ing, which lasts 2 to 3 weeks. Young hares are odor­less and will re­main very still while hid­den. They will usu­ally not breed until they are at least 1 year old.

Life span[edit]

Longevity in L. ni­gri­col­lis is un­known but other hare species tend to live 5 years in the wild and up to 7 years in cap­tiv­ity.


As other leporids, Indian hare also de­pends on strong run­ning abil­i­ties to avoid preda­tors, but if nec­es­sary, will find shel­ter in a cave or hol­low tree.

Preda­tors in­clude Canids (foxes, wolves, dhole), Her­pestids (mon­gooses), Fe­lids (leop­ards and wild cats), hu­mans, ea­gles and hawks.


  1. ^ Hoffman, R. S.; Smith, A. T. (2005). "Order Lagomorpha". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 201. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ Lagomorph Specialist Group (1996). Lepus nigricollis. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 2006-12-27.
  3. ^ Suchentrunk, F and Mihajla Davidovic (2004). "Evaluation of the classification of Indian hares (Lepus nigricollis) into the genus Indolagus Gureev, 1953 (Leporidae, Lagomorpha)". Mamm. biol 69 (1): 46–57. doi:10.1078/1616-5047-115.