Chinese Hare, Lepus sinensis
The Chinese hare (Lepus sinensis) is a species of hare that can be found in Vietnam, China, and Taiwan. Its range includes the Chinese provinces of Anhui, Hunan, and Zhejiang. This species was first described in 1832 by John Edward Gray and was once thought to hold a subspecies known as the Korean hare, but this was later found to be a distinct species.
The Chinese hare reaches an average body length between 16 and 30 inches and a weight of up to 4.3 pounds, with females growing significantly larger than males, displaying a sexual dimorphism. Its coarse fur is brown in color on the chest and tail and white on the underbelly. The tips of its ears hold black fur. This species can be distinguished from other hares by the shape of its teeth and skull.
Although there is little information about the Chinese hare, it is known to be nocturnal and feeds on vegetation like grasses, twigs, and other green plant matter. This species produces moist and dry feces, consuming the moist feces immediately after release in order to obtain extra nutrients. After breeding, females give birth to a litter of three young, which reside in a nest within above ground vegetation. The mother will return to this nest once a day to nurse her young. After about three weeks, the young are weaned.
The Chinese hare holds a stable population throughout most of its range, excluding Vietnam where it inhabits extremely urban areas and is at a major risk of decline. Its population numbers and trend are not known in China. This species is hunted by many species of carnivore. It appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Least Concern.”
Image Caption: « Lepus sinensis » = Lepus sinensis (Chinese Hare). Credit: Thomas Hardwicke/Wikipedia