Desert hare

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Desert hare
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Lagomorpha
Family: Leporidae
Genus: Lepus
Subgenus: Proeulagus
Species: L. tibetanus
Binomial name
Lepus tibetanus
Waterhouse, 1841
Desert Hare area.png
Desert hare range

The desert hare (Lepus tibetanus) is a species of hare found in Northwest China and countries adjacent to it. Little is known about this species except that it inhabits grassland and scrub areas of desert and semi-desert. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as being of "least concern."

Description[edit]

The desert hare is a lightly-built species with a small head. It grows to a head-and-body length of between 400 and 480 mm (16 and 19 in) with a tail of 87 to 109 mm (3.4 to 4.3 in). The upper parts are sandy-yellow to drab brown glossed with black, the hip area is greyish and the underparts yellowish-white. The eye is surrounded by an area of pale skin and the ears are broad, lined with tufted hair inside and tipped with black. The forefeet are white as are the outer surfaces of the rear legs. The upper side of the tail has a brownish-black stripe. During the winter, the coat becomes thicker and a sandy-grey colour.[2][3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The desert hare is native to Central Asia, its range extending from Afghanistan and northern Pakistan to Mongolia, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Gansu and Inner Mongolia in northern China. It is found at altitudes of up to 3,500 or 4,000 m (11,500 or 13,100 ft) in arid and semi-arid areas, scrubby desert, grassland and steppe.[1]

Ecology[edit]

The desert hare is herbivorous; its diet includes roots, foliage, stems, berries and seeds. It mainly feeds around dusk but sometimes emerges during the day. Like other hares, it does not dig itself a burrow, but lies concealed in a shallow depression. Females have up to three litters per year, typically of three to ten young each time.[2]

Status[edit]

The desert hare has a wide range but the population size and trend is not known. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as being of "least concern" on the grounds that no particular threats are recognised, and if the population is shrinking, it is likely to be doing so at too slow a rate to qualify for a more threatened category.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c China Red List; Johnston, C.H. (2008). "Lepus tibetanus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Smith, Andrew T.; Xie, Yan; Hoffmann, Robert S.; Lunde, Darrin; MacKinnon, John; Wilson, Don E.; Wozencraft, W. Chris (2010). A Guide to the Mammals of China. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. pp. 290–291. ISBN 1-4008-3411-2. 
  3. ^ Alves, Paulo C.; Ferrand, Nuno; Hackländer, Klaus. Lagomorph Biology: Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation. Springer. p. 401. ISBN 978-3-540-72446-9.