Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hispid Hare

Caprolagus hispidus
Today's animal is one of the rarest mammals in the entire world, but many people have never even heard of it! The Hispid Hare (which is actually technically a Rabbit) is an endangered species that had a population of only around 110 individuals as of 2001.

Hispid Hares were thought to be extinct in the early 1960s, but then an individual surfaced in 1966. They have a very small range that covers parts of India and Nepal, and their numbers are on the decline due to habitat loss within that range. They are also mistakenly hunted due to their resemblance to another, more common, Hare species. Hispid Hares have not done well in captivity.

Unfortunately, because they are so rare we know very little about the behavior of these Hares. They live in grassland areas, are herbivores, and they do not appear to dig burrows. They have been described as "slow moving."

As a final side note, let's quickly discuss the difference between Rabbits and Hares. For one, Hares are found within the genus Lepus. Secondly, young Hares are born more developed than young Rabbits are, because they are born above ground, not in burrows (meaning they have to fend for themselves more quickly). And thirdly, Rabbits tend to hide from predators, while Hares attempt to outrun them. Rabbits have also been domesticated. Hares have not.

IUCN Status : Endangered
Location : India and Nepal
Size : Length up to 21in (53cm), Weight up to 5.5lbs (2.5kg) 
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Lagomorpha
Family : Leporidae -- Genus : Caprolagus -- Species : C. hispidus

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