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Living OrganismsAnimalia / Craniata / Mammalia / Lagomorpha / Leporidae / Lepus / Species

Lepus othus - Alaskan hare (Click photographs/illustrations for full picture & further details)

 

INDEX - INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

APPEARANCE / MORPHOLOGY

LIFE STAGES / NATURAL DIET / PHYSIOLOGY

BEHAVIOUR

HABITAT & RANGE

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Alaska arctic hare. (B430.w2)
  • Alaska Peninsula hare. (B430.w2)
  • Alaska tundra hare. (B430.w2)
  • Okhotsk. (B430.w2)
  • Oo-skon. (B430.w2)
  • St.Michaels's hare. (B430.w2)
  • Swift hare. (B430.w2)
  • Tundra hare. (B430.w2)
  • Ugalishugruk. (B430.w2)
  • Ukalisukruk. (B430.w2)
  • Ushkanuk. (B430.w2)
  • Lepus poadromus. (B430.w2, B607.w20)
  • Lepus othus othus. (B430.w2)
  • Lepus othus poadromus. (B430.w2)
  • Lepus othus tschuktschorum. (B607.w20)

Names for new-borns / juveniles

  • Leveret. (B285.w5b)

Names for males

Names for females

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General Appearance

Adult:

General Information

  • All hares have well-furred feet. (B147)
  • "The upper parts of the body are usually brown or grayish brown, and the underparts are paler or white." (B147)
  • Some species of hare have black tips to their ears, and some have black fur on the upper side of their tail. (B147)

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • This species is one of the largest hares (B147, B430.w2) and it has a massive skull. (B430.w2)
  • During the summer this hare is has brown or cinnamon drab with white under parts and a white or grey tail .Its winter coat is completely white, except for the tips of the ears which are black. (B430.w2, B605.4.w4, J469.458.w1)

Newborn:

General Information

  • Lepus spp. leverets are furred at birth. (B147, B285.w5b, B287)

Similar Species

Specific Lepus othus Information

Sexual Dimorphism

  • No sexual size dimorphism. (J469.458.w1)

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References

Species Authors & Referees

Author: Kathryn Pintus BSc MSc MSc (V.w115); Dr Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5

ORGANISATIONS

ELECTRONIC LIBRARY
(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

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Husbandry Information

Notes

  • --

Management Techniques

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Appearance / Morphology

Measurement & Weight

Notes

LENGTH
Adult:

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • Average for this species: 597 mm, range: 565-690 mm. (B430.w2)
  • Total length average 676 mm, body length average 607 mm. (J469.458.w1)
    • Lepus othus othus total length 624 mm (range 565-690 mm). (J469.458.w1)
    • Lepus othus poadromus total length 570 mm. (J469.458.w1)
    • No sexual size dimorphism. (J469.458.w1)

Newborns: 

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • Total length average 176 mm. (J469.458.w1)

HEIGHT
Adults and sub-adults: --
Juveniles: --

WEIGHT
Adult: 

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • This species weighs an average of 4.8 kg, with a range between 3.2 and 6.5 kg. (B605.4.w4)
  • Average weight: 4,800 g (range: 3,900-7,200 g). (B430.w2)
  • Average 4,806 g, range usually 3,900 - 4,813 g but with individuals as heavy as 5,500 and 7,200 reported. (J469.458.w1)

Newborns: 

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • Leverets of this species weigh 100 g at birth. (B430.w2, B605.4.w4)
  • Average 104.8 g. (J469.458.w1)

GROWTH RATE

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • Estimated average growth rate of 37.2 grams per day over a 102-day growth period, from a birth weight of about 100 g to a minimum adult weight of 3,900 g. (B430.w2, J469.458.w1)
  • The hind feet of young grow at an average rate of 2.56 mm per day, and after 112 days the feet have reached 95% of the average adult size. (B430.w2, J469.458.w1)

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Head and Neck

Notes

GENERAL HEAD STRUCTURE:
Adult:

  • All lagomorphs have large ears relative to their body size. (B285.w5a)
  • Almost all Lepus species have long ears. (B147)
  • Ear length average 91 mm. (J469.458.w1)

Newborns:

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • Neonate ear length 24 mm. (J469.458.w1)

DENTITION:
Adult:

General Information

  • Rabbits and hares have a total of 28 teeth. (B285.w5a)
  • The lower tooth rows are closer together than the upper tooth rows. (B147)
  • Lagomorphs differ from rodents by having two pairs of upper incisors rather than just the one pair. The additional set of incisors are called peg teeth and are found directly behind the long pair in the upper jaw. (B147, B285.w5a, B605.1.w1)
  • At birth, lagomorphs actually have three pairs of upper incisors, but they quickly lose the outer incisor on each side. (B147)
  • The incisors are covered completely by enamel. (B147)
  • The upper incisors' roots are found in the skull's premaxillary bones. However, the length of the lower incisors' roots varies. (B147)
    • [Note: lagomorphs have teeth which grow throughout their lives. For this reason the portion of the teeth which is not exposed (not above the gum line) is strictly speaking not a "root"; however, it is sometimes convenient to describe it as a root.]
  • The first upper incisors have a straight cutting edge. (B147)
  • The peg teeth lack a cutting edge. (B147)

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • Has strongly recurved upper incisors. (B430.w2)

EYES:
Adult:

General Information

  • Lagomorph eyes are positioned such that they allow for good broad-field vision. (B285.w5a)
  • Hares and rabbits have large eyes which are adapted to both their crepuscular and nocturnal activity patterns. (B285.w5b)
  • Leporids have "large eyes to increase visual acuity in dim light." (B430.w2)

Newborn: 

General Information

  • Leverets are born with their eyes open. (B147, B285.w5b, B287)

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • The leverets have dark pupils and the iris is dark blue. (B430.w2, J469.458.w1)

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Legs, Spine and Tracks

Notes

  • All hares have well-furred feet. (B147)
  • Almost all Lepus species have large hind feet. (B147)
Specific Lepus othus Information
  • This species has large hind feet. (B430.w2)
  • Hind foot length: average 185 mm (range 164 - 189 mm). (J469.458.w1)
  • Neonates hind foot average 45 mm. (J469.458.w1)
  • The hind feet of young grow at an average rate of 2.56 mm per day, and after 112 days the feet have reached 95% of the average adult size. (B430.w2, J469.458.w1)
  • Has stout claws. (B430.w2, J469.458.w1); these allow the hare to dig through hard crusts of snow to reach food. (J469.458.w1)

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Tail

Notes

General Lepus Information:

  • Leporids have a short tail. (B147)
  • 35-100 mm. (B147)
  • Average: 58 mm. (B430.w2)
  • Range: 48-76 mm. (B430.w2)
  • 3.5-12 cm. (B285.w5c)
Specific Lepus othus Information
  • Average length: 74 mm (range: 65-104 mm). (B430.w2)
  • Average length of tail 69 mm (range 65 - 104 mm). (J469.458.w1)
  • The tail is white or grey. (B430.w2)
  • Neonates tail length average 20 mm. (J469.458.w1)

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Skin / Coat / Pelage

Notes

Adult:

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • During the summer this species has brown or cinnamon drab fur on the upper parts, and white under parts. (B605.4.w4, J469.458.w1)
  • "In summer pelage (August), the nose, sides of the face, and top of the head are brownish-orange; the top of the head is darkest. The front half of the outer surface of the ears is similar in color to the head. The back half of the ears is white and the tips are brownish." (B430.w2)
  • In late May, the spring moult begins. (B605.4.w4)
  • The tail is white or grey. (B430.w2)

Adult Colour variations:

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • Its winter coat is completely white, except for the tips of the ears which are black. (B430.w2, B605.4.w4, J469.458.w1)
  • In this species, the winter pelage is white right to the base of the hairs. (B430.w2, J469.458.w1)
  • The winter moult starts in mid-September, starting with the ears, which become white (except for the tips) by late September when the rest of the body is still buffy. The white of the underside then spreads onto the legs and sides, after which the remainder of the back, shoulders and sides become white by late October; the face may not become fully white until late November. (B430.w2, J469.458.w1)
  • The spring moult starts early May, initially on the face and ears; some may still have. (J469.458.w1)
  • At higher elevations near snow fields, this species may still be in its winter pelage in May. (B430.w2)

Newborn / Juvenile:

General Information

  • Lepus spp. leverets are furred at birth. (B147, B285.w5b, B287)

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • "upperparts and band across throat generally brownish-slate at base of hair, tipped with buff; nose, buff to base; eye ring, pale buff; tops of front feet, pale buff; hind feet, mixed white and buff above, buff below; belly, inner sides of front and hind legs, pure white; tips of ears black; tail apparently white, might be dark at base above." (J469.458.w1)
  • Some young have a white centre stripe on their forehead approximately 10 mm in length. (B430.w2, J469.458.w1)

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Detailed Anatomy Notes
(Summary information provided for pertinent species-specific data cross-referenced in Wildpro)

Notes

The details below are from general lagomorph, leporid and Lepus information.

Skull
  • Leporids have an arched skull with a slight constriction between the orbits. (B147)
  • Lepus species have a skull that is lighter than the skull of rabbit species. (B605.4.w4)
Female reproductive tract
  • Female Lepus spp. have three to five pairs of mammary glands, with an extensive mass of mammary tissue. (B147, B287)
Male reproductive tract
  • Males lack a baculum (B147)
  • Testes are in the scrotum located in front of the penis (B147)
Digestive system
  • The largest part of the digestive tract is the caecum; this has a capacity up to ten times that of the stomach. (B147)

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Life Stages / Natural Diet / Physiology

Life Stages

Notes

BREEDING SEASON:

General Information

  • The majority of Lepus species have a long breeding season. (B147)
  • Southern Lepus species breed throughout the year. (B285.w5c)

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • In West Alaska, the breeding season for this species begins in April. (B605.4.w4)
  • Conception 13 - 29 April. (J469.458.w1)
OESTRUS / OVULATION:

General Information

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • Conception in this species occurs from mid-April to May. (B430.w2)
GESTATION / PREGNANCY:

General Information

  • Under adverse conditions (such as during climatic or social stress), female lagomorphs are able to resorb embryos. (B285.w5a)
  • It is thought that some lagomorph species are able to conceive a second litter even before the last young is born; this is known as superfetation. (B285.w5a)
  • Gestation for Lepus species varies, but can be up to 50 days. (B147,B285.w5c)

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • The gestation period is approximately 46 days. (B430.w2, J469.458.w1)
PARTURITION / BIRTH:

General Information

  • Leverets are precocial and are born into surface-depression forms. (B285.w5b)
  • Females give birth to their young in open areas, or in a shallow depression in the ground. (B147)
  • Leverets remain hidden within dense vegetation, and the female visits them in order to nurse them. (B147)

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • The majority of young are born between 28th May and 14th June. (B605.4.w4)
  • Parturition 29 May to 4th June. This period is when snow cover is lost, which may enhance survival of the leverets, their brown pelage blending with the ground. (J469.458.w1)
  • Leverets may be born in nest sites above ground with no brush cover or in the thick shelter of alder or willow brush. (B430.w2, J469.458.w1)
  • One described nest, found in a naturally hollowed-out spot, was just a depression in cotton-grass and moss, with no lining. It was noted that the backs of the leverets were below the surface of the surrounding tundra, but other wise they were unsheltered from wind, rain or snow. (J469.458.w1)
  • "Some nests are located in natural depressions in the moss and cotton sedges, and have no lining; in those nests, the backs of the young are well beneath the top of the surrounding tundra, but the young are continuously exposed to cold, wind, and rain." (B430.w2)
  • Young appear to be born in late May as the snow cover depletes and disappears. (B430.w2)
Neonatal / Development:

General Information

  • Leverets are precocial; they are born fully furred, with open eyes, and are able to move about soon after birth. (B147, B285.w5b, B287)
  • Young are only suckled briefly once every 24 hours. (B285.w5b)
  • Approximately three days after birth, leverets disperse to separate hiding locations. Leveret litter-mates will regroup for a brief suckling bout at a particular location at precisely defined intervals. Such regrouping often takes place around sunset. (B285.w5b)

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • "The growth rate of young over the first ten weeks averaged 23.4g/day." (B605.4.w4)
  • The young are precocial. (B430.w2)
  • A few weeks after birth, the young start to drift away from their mother. (B430.w2, J469.458.w1)
  • A prolonged period of nursing (5 to 9 weeks) allows a rapid rate of growth of the young to be maintained. (B430.w2)
  • "The estimated average growth rate for juveniles is 37.2 grams per day over a 102-day growth period, from a birth weight of 100 g to a minimum adult weight of 3,900 g." (B430.w2)
  • The hind feet of young grow at an average rate of 2.6mm per day, and in 112 will have reached 95% of the average adult size. (B430.w2)
  • "Rapid growth allows at least a minimum adult body mass to be reached during the short summer, thereby increasing the hare's chances of survival through its first winter." (B430.w2)
LITTER SIZE:

General Information

  • The size of litters produced by leporids at northern latitudes tends to be greater than those produced by leporids at southern latitudes. (B430.w2)
  • Litter sizes in Lepus species range from one to nine offspring. (B285.w5c)

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • Mean litter size is 6.3 young (range: 3 to 8). (B605.4.w4)
  • Mean litter size is 6 young (range: 5 to 7). (B430.w2)
TIME BETWEEN LITTERS / LITTERS PER YEAR:

General Information

  • The inter-birth interval in lagomorphs is reduced by the phenomenon of induced ovulation, and post-partum oestrus, which allows females to conceive immediately after she has given birth. (B285.w5a)
  • A female can produce up to three or four litters per year. (B430.w2)

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • One litter per year. (B430.w2, B605.4.w4)
LACTATION / MILK PRODUCTION:

General Information

  • Leporids only release milk once in every 24 hour period. (B285.w5b)
  • Leporid milk has a very high fat and protein content, and as such is highly nutritious. Although the lactation period is brief, the milk is pumped into the young at a high speed.(B285.w5b)
  • The lactation period has a duration of between 17 and 23 days. (B285.w5b)

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • Females nurse for 5 to 9 weeks following parturition. (B430.w2, J469.458.w1)
  • The long nursing period is thought to help allow the rapid growth and increase the survival of juveniles. (J469.458.w1)
SEXUAL MATURITY:

General Information

  • Most species of lagomorph reach sexual maturity relatively early. (B285.w5a)
  • Lepus young do not usually breed in their first year of life. (B147)
MALE SEASONAL VARIATION:

General Information

  • Testes are intra-abdominal outside the breeding season, descending into the scrotum during the breeding season. (B147)
LONGEVITY / MORTALITY:

General Information

  • Rabbits and hares in the wild live for less than a year on average; a maximum age of 12 years has been recorded in a couple of species. (B285.w5b)
  • "Only a minority of hares survive their first year in the wild, though survivors can reach 5 years; in captivity, hares can live to 6 or 7 years." (B285.w5c)

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • The timing of births in this species to coincide with the depletion of snow helps to increase the survival chances of the young, as their coat blends in with the surrounding ground, food is abundant, and the ambient temperatures are relatively high. (B430.w2)

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Natural Diet

Notes

NATURAL DIET:

General Lepus Information

  • Hares mainly eat grasses and herbaceous plants, but do also feed on twigs, buds and bark. (B147)

  • Isolated cases have been reported of hares capturing and eating voles and young lagomorphs. (B147)

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • This species is thought to consume grasses, heath plants, sedges and dwarf willow, as do other arctic hares. (B605.4.w4)

  • In April and May, mainly Salix alaxensis woody material and Empetrum nigrum leaves. (B605.4.w4, J469.458.w1)

  • Early spring, crowberries and leaves. (J469.458.w1)

  • Shrubs, particularly crowberry leaves and woody willow tissue, form the bulk of the diet during April and May. (B430.w2)

  • A captive individual ate alder and dwarf birth leaves plus sporangia from mosses. (J469.458.w1)

  • Seldom drinks water. (B430.w2)

QUANTITY EATEN: --

STUDY METHODS:

  • Observation and investigation of stomach contents. (J469.458.w1)

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Hibernation / Aestivation

Notes

--

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Haematology / Biochemistry

Notes

HAEMATOLOGY: --

BIOCHEMISTRY: --

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Detailed Physiology Notes
(Summary information provided for pertinent species-specific data cross-referenced in WILDPro)

Notes

Note: There is very little data specific to this species so the details below are from general lagomorph and leporid information.

METABOLISM (TEMPERATURE): --

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM (RESPIRATION): --

CIRCULATORY SYSTEM (PULSE/HEART RATE): --

GASTROINTESTINAL SYSTEM (FAECES AND GUT MOTILITY):

General Information

  • Lagomorphs have digestive systems which are adapted for processing large quantities of vegetation. (B285.w5a)
  • Lagomorphs are well adapted for obtaining the greatest possible value from their food. They produce two types of faecal material: moist pellets and dry pellets. The moist pellets are expelled and then eaten (a behaviour known as coprophagy (B285.w5a)); this is done with little or no chewing, and as a result the majority of the food passes through the digestive tract twice (this is thought to have the same function as 'chewing the cud' in ruminants). The dry faecal pellets are not eaten. (B147)

URINARY SYSTEM (URINE): --

CHROMOSOMES: 

  • All the Lepus species have 48 chromosomes. (B605.4.w4)

MUSCULO-SKELETAL SYSTEM: --

SPECIAL SENSES AND VOCALISATIONS:

General Information

  • All lagomorphs use scent products secreted from special glands. (B285.w5a) These glands are located under the chin and in the groin, and are believed to play a key role in sexual communication, as well as in signalling social status in some gregarious species. (B285.w5b)
  • Whereas pikas tend to be more vocal, rabbits and hares rely strongly on scent rather than sound as a means of communication. (B285.w5b)
  • High-pitched distress squeals are emitted by leporids when captured by a predator. (B285.w5b, B430.w2)
  • The North American leporids have large ears with highly-developed hearing, an adaptation which allows them to detect predators when foraging in open habitats. (B430.w2)
  • Hares communicate with each other by drumming their feet. (B147)
  • Deep grumbling has been reported in Lepus species, and shrill calls are emitted when the animal is in pain. (B285.w5c)
  • "When seeking the young for nursing, females call the young and are answered." (B147)

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Notes

General Information
  • Lagomorphs are well adapted for obtaining the greatest possible value from their food. They produce two types of faecal material: moist pellets and dry pellets. The moist pellets are expelled and then eaten; this is done with little or no chewing, and as a result the majority of the food passes through the digestive tract twice (this is thought to have the same function as 'chewing the cud' in ruminants). The dry faecal pellets are not eaten. (B147)

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • Uses its stout claws to dig through hard snow to reach vegetation. (B430.w2, J469.458.w1)
  • "In early spring, Alaskan hares may be seen feeding at the edge of melting snow patches, where crowberries from the previous summer are abundant." (B430.w2)
  • A captive individual was noted to drink only rarely. (J469.458.w1)

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Parental Behaviour

Notes

General Information
  • Male leporids are not generally involved in care of the young. However, if adult females attack young leporids, males will intervene, a behaviour known as 'policing'. (B285.w5b)
  • Even maternal care of the young is not particularly prominent in leporids, hence this reproductive strategy is known as 'absentee parentism'. (B285.w5a)
  • Leporids demonstrate an unusual system of nursing; the young are suckled only briefly (often less than five minutes) just once every 24 hours. (B285.w5b)
  • It is thought that the lack of social contact between the mother and her young is a strategy which diminishes the chances of attracting the attention of predators. (B285.w5b)
  • The entrances to breeding tunnels are carefully re-sealed following each bout of suckling. (B285.w5b)

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • Females suckle their young to about nine weeks. (J469.458.w1)
  • Females do not line the nest depression with fur. (J469.458.w1)

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Social Behaviour / Territoriality / Predation / Learning

Notes

SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR:

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • "The lack of records of colonial behavior is surprising; either this species differs from other arctic hares in being solitary, or field work has been restricted to summer when the groups have split up." (B605.4.w4)
  • "The young behave like other hares, grunting and drumming with the feet." (B605.4.w4)
  • Solitary for most of the year. Come together in April and May for the mating season, at which time groups of more than 20 animals may form. (B430.w2, (J469.458.w1)

PREDATION:

Specific Lepus othus Information

PREDATOR AVOIDANCE:

General Information

  • Hares will run out into open areas and use their speed in order to avoid predators. (B285.w5b, B605.4.w4)
  • Speeds of up to 72 km/h (45 mph) have been reported for hares. (B285.w5b)
  • "Instead of seeking cover, hares rely on their well-developed running ability to escape from danger: also on camouflage, by flattening on vegetation." (B285.w5c)

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • Tail flagging occurs. (B430.w2)
  • The young are born as the snow recedes, thus allowing their brown pelage to blend in with their surroundings, and as such remaining inconspicuous. (B430.w2)
  • This species is almost impossible to see in the summer when hiding in leafy vegetation. (B430.w2)
  • This species is known to use its forefeet to strike at attacking Nyctea scandiaca - Snowy owl. (B430.w2, J469.458.w1)
  • Between attacks by aerial predators, this species rushes towards willow patches for shelter. (B430.w2, J469.458.w1)
  • Note: a hand-reared individual showed no fear of domestic cats, but a violent reaction to dogs, trying to flee. (J332.28.w2)

POPULATION DENSITIES:

General Lepus Information

  • Drastic, cyclic population density fluctuations occur in northern Lepus species. (B147)
  • Predator population cycles follow Lepus cycles; once predator populations have crashed, and vegetation has had the chance to regenerate, hare population numbers are able to start increasing once more. (B147)

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • There are no known studies of densities for this species. (B605.4.w4)
  • Usually described as rare. (B605.4.w4)
  • In an area studied due to the high density of hares, 23 hares were recorded in 14 km2. (B605.4.w4)
  • Population densities vary depending upon the year and the locality. (B430.w2)
HOME RANGES AND DISTANCES TRAVELLED:

General Lepus Information

  • "Habitat type has a marked effect on home-range size within each species, but differences also occur between species." (B285.w5c)
  • Lepus species vary greatly in their home range sizes, with some species having home ranges of only 4-20 hectares, and others exceeding 300 hectares. (B285.w5c)
  • Areas within a couple of metres of forms may be defended, but home ranges often overlap, often with common feeding grounds. (B285.w5c)

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • There are no known studies of home ranges for this species. (B605.4.w4)

TERRITORIALITY:

General Information

  • The majority of hares and rabbits are non-territorial; some hares occupy home ranges of up to 300 ha (740 acres). Ranges of individuals may overlap in favoured feeding grounds. (B285.w5b)

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Sexual Behaviour

Notes

General Information
  • All lagomorphs use scent products secreted from special glands. (B285.w5a) These glands are located under the chin and in the groin, and are believed to play a key role in sexual communication, as well as in signalling social status in some gregarious species. (B285.w5b)
  • Male Lepus become bolder during the mating season, and engage in fights with other males, and pursue females. (B147)
  • Male Lepus fight by using boxing motions with their forefeet and kicking with their hind feet. (B147)
  • Males often bite and kick the females, often leading to serious injury. (B147)

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Activity Patterns, Self-grooming and Navigation

Notes

ACTIVITY PATTERNS: 

General Information

  • All the lagomorphs are terrestrial. (B147)

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • Lope over the tundra. (J469.458.w1)
  • A hand-reared individual did not seek shelter during rain or snow, but just "sat out through the storm". (J332.28.w2)

SELF-GROOMING:

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • A captive individual never bathed. (J332.28.w2, J469.458.w1)

CIRCADIAN RHYTHM:

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • This species is nocturnal. (B430.w2)
  • Feeds at night. (B430.w2)
  • Leave alder thickets at night to feed. (J469.458.w1)

SPEED OF MOVEMENT:

General Information 

  • The North American leporids are able to escape predators by taking instant flight at high speed. (B430.w2)
  • Leporids can run at speeds of up to 80 km/hr. (B147)

NAVIGATION: --

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Habitat and Range

General Habitat Type

Notes

Specific Lepus othus Information
  • Tundra. (B147, B430.w2)
  • "Open tundra is the normal habitat, with rocks for cover on alluvial plain for the northern subspecies, while the southern population occupies coastal lowland areas on the Aleutian Island chain." (B605.4.w4)
  • Dense alder thickets. (B430.w2)
  • "Near the Kashunuk River, it was found in all habitats from sedge flats and wet meadows to the upper slopes of the Askinuk Mountains." (B430.w2)
  • The two subspecies are found in distinct habitat types. (B430.w2)
  • Lepus othus othus: alluvial plain or tundra. (B430.w2)
  • Lepus othus poadromus: mainly found in coastal lowland areas. (B430.w2)

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Nests / Burrows / Shelters

Notes

General Information
  • Hares tend to reside in caves or crevices in rocks. (B430.w2)
  • Lepus species do not usually dig burrows or live in them, favouring fleeing rather than hiding as a mode of escape. (B147)
  • The majority of hares rest underneath vegetation, generally lying within shallow dips in the ground (soil, snow or grass) known as 'forms'. (B147)
  • The majority of Lepus species live on the surface, but some do dig burrows or use tunnels and holes made by other animals. (B285.w5c)
  • Uses 'shelter forms' (small depressions within the ground or vegetation) to rest in during the day. Or may simply rest next to a plant. (B430.w2)

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • Nest sites may be in areas lacking brush cover above-ground or within thick willow or alder brush. (B430.w2)
  • Nests may be located within natural depressions in moss and cotton sedges. These may have no lining. (B430.w2)

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Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Notes

Specific Lepus othus Information
  • This species is found in western and southwestern Alaska. (B285.w5c, B605.4.w4, B607.w20)
  • Found from sea level up to more than 600 metres (2,000 feet). (B430.w2, B605.4.w4, J469.458.w1)
  • Thought to have been formerly found northwestwards to Point Barrow. (B605.4.w4, B607.w20)
  • "...the present distribution does not apparently include the arctic slope." (B605.4.w4)
  • Also thought to be found in East Chukotsk, Russia. (B285.w5c, B607.w20)
  • "...northern and western Alaska, Chukotsk Peninsula at extreme eastern tip of Siberia." (B147)
  • Coastal regions of Alaska. (B430.w2)
  • Arctic tundra regions of western and northwestern Alaska. (B430.w2, J469.458.w1)
    • "The range extends from the Selawik-Kotzebue area in the north to the Cold Bay area in the south, and includes all of the Seward Peninsula, most of the Alaska Peninsula, and most of the western coast of Alaska." (B430.w2, J469.458.w1)
    • "Fossil remains have been found in two late Rancholabrean sites in Alaska, Canyon Creek and Porcupine River Cave. These sites are outisde the current range of L.othus, and the remains from Canyon Creek may be of L.arcticus [Lepus arcticus - Arctic hare]." (B430.w2)
    • The subspecies Lepus othus othus is found in northern and western Alaska, whereas Lepus othus poadromus is found in southwestern Alaska. (B430.w2)
  • Lepus othus othus - Northern and western Alaska. (B430.w2)
  • Lepus othus poadromus - Southwestern Alaska. (B430.w2)

Geographic Sympatry

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Conservation

Species variation

Notes

Specific Lepus othus Information
Currently recognised subspecies include:
  • Lepus othus othus - Northern and western Alaska. (B430.w2)
  • Lepus othus poadromus - Southwestern Alaska. (B430.w2)
    • Or this is included in Lepus othus othus. (B607.w20)
  • Lepus othus tschuktschorum. (B607.w20)

Notes:

  • There have been disagreements as to the classification of this species, with some recognising two subspecies (Lepus oiostolus othus in the west and Lepus oiostolus poadromus in southwest Alaska) and others considering these to be extremes in a continuous cline. (B605.4.w4, J469.458.w1)
  • "The two subspecies are associated with distinct habitat types, and each subspecies is composed of a complex of disjunct populations." (B430.w2)
  • Was formerly included in Lepus timidus - Mountain hare (B147, B605.4.w4, B607.w20) or arcticus Lepus arcticus - Arctic hare. (B607.w20, J469.458.w1)
    • "The species is now normally regarded as conspecific with the arctic hare L.arcticus...and sometimes both are included in the mountain hare L.timidus." (B605.4.w4)
  • This species has been found to be morphologically closer to Lepus townsendii - White-tailed jackrabbit than to other northern hares. (B607.w20)
  • "More work is required to determine whether Eastern Siberian populations are linked to L.othus or to L.timidus." (B607.w20)
    • If Eastern Siberian populations are linked to Lepus othus, then it is said that tschuktschorum has priority over othus. (B607.w20)

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Conservation Status

Notes

WILD POPULATION - IMPORTANCE:

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • Usually described as rare. (B605.4.w4)
  • "The Alaskan hare is a rare species and seems to have decreased in numbers...although the habitat does not seem to be threatened." (B605.4.w4)
  • Uncommon. (B605.4.w4)

GENERAL LEGISLATION: --

CITES LISTING: --

RED-DATA LIST STATUS:

Specific Lepus othus Information

  • IUCN - Lower Risk (least concern). (W2.Apr08.w26)

THREATS: --

PEST STATUS / PEST POPULATIONS: --

CAPTIVE POPULATIONS: --

TRADE AND USE: --

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