Alaskan hare

The Alaskan hare (Lepus othus), also known as the tundra hare, is a species of mammal in the family Leporidae.[2] They do not dig burrows and are found in the open tundra of western Alaska and the Alaska Peninsula in the United States. They are solitary for most of the year except during mating season, when they produce a single litter of up to eight young. Predators include birds of prey and polar bears, as well as humans for sport hunting.

Alaskan hare
Arctic Hare
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Lagomorpha
Family: Leporidae
Genus: Lepus
L. othus
Binomial name
Lepus othus
Merriam, 1900
Lepus othus range in ak
Alaskan Hare Skeleton
Alaskan hare skeleton on display at the Museum of Osteology.


The Alaskan hare is one of the largest species of hares.[3] The Alaskan hare is sometimes referred to as the tundra hare.[4] They are one of two species of hares native to the state of Alaska in the United States, the other being the more common snowshoe hare.[4] Both male and female adults of Lepus othus normally measure between 50–70 centimetres (20–28 in) in length, with the tail measuring up to an additional 8 centimetres (3.1 in). Their hind feet are 20 centimetres (7.9 in) long, which is thought to allow them to move easily in snowy conditions. It has been reported that they also use their feet for defense against predators. This species weighs from 2.9 to 7.2 kg (6.4 to 15.9 lb), averaging 4.8 kg (11 lb), and it is thus one of the largest lagomorphs, alongside the similarly sized brown hare and Arctic hare.[5] The Alaskan hare's ears are fairly short compared to most.[3] They have evolved shorter ears than most hares in order to conserve heat throughout the winter months. Hare's ears play an important role in thermoregulation, and with the Alaskan hare's ears being small, it prevents heat loss in cold climates. In the summer, Alaskan hares have a brown fur coat with white under parts. In the winter, they have a white fur coat with black-tipped ears.[3] They also shed their gray-brown summer topcoat, becoming all white during the winter.[5]

The Alaskan hare is mostly solitary, and usually only congregate in groups during mating season in April and May.[5] They will normally have one litter per year of between four and eight leverets, with the young born during June and July. The leverets are active shortly after birth, and are born with full coats and open eyes.[5] Hares can also carry Tularemia which is a bacterial disease that can be transmitted to pets and humans. It can cause infectious wounds, swollen lymph nodes, and fever or symptoms that feel as if you have the flu.[3]


The closest relatives of the Alaskan hare are the Arctic hare, Lepus arcticus, of northern Canada and Greenland, and the mountain hare, Lepus timidus, of northern Eurasia,[2] from which the Alaskan hare is geographically isolated.[1]

Habitat and diet

They do not live in burrows, but instead nest in open sites. They are most commonly found in upland tundra or in rocky or brushy areas which provide camouflage and protection from predators.[5] Their range includes western and southwestern Alaska, including the Alaska Peninsula.[1][4] They are herbivores, eating a variety of foliage and fruits, with foraging taking place primarily at dawn and dusk.[5] Alaskan hares also feed on green plants in the summer, and bark and twigs in the winter.[3] Predators include foxes, polar bears, wolverines, weasels, and birds of prey.[5] Whilst they are not commonly hunted for food by humans, they are trapped both for their fur and also for sport hunting.[5] However, they are trapped more for their fur rather than their meat. Their fur can be and is used to line shoes and robes in Alaska.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Murray, D. & Smith, A.T. (2008). "Lepus othus". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2008: e.T11795A3308465. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T11795A3308465.en. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b Hoffman, R.S.; Smith, A.T. (2005). "Order Lagomorpha". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Alaska Hare Species Profile, Alaska Department of Fish and Game". Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  4. ^ a b c Earnest, Jeanette R. (1989). "Hares" (PDF). Alaska Department of Fish & Game. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h DeBruine, Lisa. "Lepus othus Alaskan hare". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
African savanna hare

The African savanna hare (Lepus microtis) is a species of mammal in the family Leporidae, native to Africa. It is native to diverse regions and habitats of Africa, including savannas and the Sahel. It is found in: Algeria, Botswana, Burundi, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zambia. The IUCN has listed its conservation status as being of "least concern".

Arctic foothills tundra

The Arctic foothills tundra is an ecoregion of the far north of North America, lying inland from the north coast of Alaska. This is permafrost tundra with an average annual temperature below freezing.

Bunyoro rabbit

The Bunyoro rabbit or Central African rabbit (Poelagus marjorita) is a species of mammal in the family Leporidae. It is monotypic within the genus Poelagus. It is found in central Africa and its typical habitat is damp savannah, often with rocky outcrops.

Cape hare

The Cape hare (Lepus capensis), also called desert hare, is a hare native to Africa and Arabia extending into India.

Gansu pika

The Gansu pika (Ochotona cansus) is a species of mammal in the pika family, Ochotonidae. It is endemic to China.

Granada hare

The Granada hare (Lepus granatensis), also known as the Iberian hare, is a hare species that can be found on the Iberian Peninsula and on the island of Majorca.

Hainan hare

The Hainan hare (Lepus hainanus) is a species of hare endemic to Hainan Island, China.


Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares are classified in the same family as rabbits. They are similar in size and form to rabbits and have similar herbivorous diets, but generally have longer ears and live solitarily or in pairs. Also unlike rabbits, their young are able to fend for themselves shortly after birth rather than emerging blind and helpless. Most are fast runners. Hare species are native to Africa, Eurasia, North America, and the Japanese archipelago.

Five leporid species with "hare" in their common names are not considered true hares: the hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus), and four species known as red rock hares (comprising Pronolagus). Conversely, jackrabbits are hares, rather than rabbits.

A hare less than one year old is called a leveret. A group of hares is called a "drove".

Ili pika

The Ili pika (Ochotona iliensis) is a species of mammal in the family Ochotonidae, endemic to northwest China. After its discovery in 1983, it was not documented again until 2014. Its population is declining, likely due to the effects of climate change. The Ili Pika is currently considered to be endangered, with approximately less than 1,000 left.

Indian hare

The Indian hare (Lepus nigricollis), also known as the black-naped hare, is a common species of hare found in the Indian Subcontinent and in Java. Introduced to Madagascar, Comoro Islands, Andaman Islands, Irian Jaya, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Mayotte, Mauritius and Réunion

Koslov's pika

Koslov's pika or Kozlov's pika (Ochotona koslowi) is a species of mammal in the family Ochotonidae. It is endemic to China. Its natural habitat is tundra. It is threatened by habitat loss.


The lagomorphs are the members of the taxonomic order Lagomorpha, of which there are two living families: the Leporidae (hares and rabbits) and the Ochotonidae (pikas). The name of the order is derived from the Ancient Greek lagos (λαγώς, "hare") + morphē (μορφή, "form"). There are about eighty-seven extant species of lagomorph, including about twenty-nine species of pika, twenty-eight species of rabbit and cottontail, and thirty species of hare.Lagomorphs share a common ancestor with rodents, together forming the clade Glires (Latin: "dormice"). Like the ancestors of most modern mammalian groups, this most recent common ancestor lived after the last great extinction event, the K–Pg extinction 66 million years ago that drove all dinosaurs except birds to extinction. Early lagomorphs arose perhaps in Asia and spread across the northern hemisphere. Later, rodents came to dominate more environmental niches, and lagomorphs seem to have been in decline.

Large-eared pika

The large-eared pika (Ochotona macrotis) is a species of small mammal in the family Ochotonidae. It is found in mountainous regions of Afghanistan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan and Tajikistan where it nests among boulders and scree.


Leporidae is the family of rabbits and hares, containing over 60 species of extant mammals in all. The Latin word Leporidae means "those that resemble lepus" (hare). Together with the pikas, the Leporidae constitute the mammalian order Lagomorpha. Leporidae differ from pikas in that they have short, furry tails and elongated ears and hind legs.

The common name "rabbit" usually applies to all genera in the family except Lepus, while members of Lepus (almost half the species) usually are called hares. Like most common names however, the distinction does not match current taxonomy completely; jackrabbits are members of Lepus, and members of the genera Pronolagus and Caprolagus sometimes are called hares.

Various countries across all continents except Antarctica and Australia have indigenous species of Leporidae. Furthermore, rabbits, most significantly the European rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus, also have been introduced to most of Oceania and to many other islands, where they pose serious ecological and commercial threats.

Manzano Mountain cottontail

The Manzano mountain cottontail (Sylvilagus cognatus) is a species of cottontail rabbit endemic to the Manzano Mountains in New Mexico, United States. It occurs in coniferous forests in high elevation. It was previously thought to be a subspecies of the Eastern cottontail.

Muli pika

The Muli pika (Ochotona muliensis) is a species of mammal in the family Ochotonidae. It is endemic to China. Its natural habitat is temperate grassland. It is threatened by habitat loss.

It is a rarely found, one of the six pika species endemic to central China, with no true population studies.

Nubra pika

The Nubra pika (Ochotona nubrica) is a species of mammal of the pika family, Ochotonidae. It is found in Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan.

Royle's pika

Royle's pika (Ochotona roylei) is a species of mammal in the pika family (Ochotonidae). It is found in China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan.

Turuchan pika

The Turuchan pika (Ochotona turuchanensis) is a species of pika found in isolated regions in the Central Siberian Plateau. It is a small (16–19 cm) rock dwelling species that is active during the day due to the low temperature at night. It was previously thought to be a subspecies of the northern pika. Little is known about this species, but is known to be locally abundant.

Extant Lagomorpha species

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