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

Pronolagus crassicaudatus - Natal red rock 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)

  • Greater red rock rabbit. (B51)
  • Greater red rockhare. (B285.w5c, B605.8.w8, W2.Apr08.w70)
  • Natal red rockhare. (W2.Apr08.w70)
  • Natal red rock rabbit. (B285.w5c)
  • Lepus crassicaudatus. (B605.8.w8)
  • Pronolagus kariegae. (B607.w20)
  • Pronolagus randensis. (B605.8.w8)
  • Pronolagus crassicaudatus crassicaudatus. (B605.8.w8)
  • Pronolagus crassicaudatus bowkeri. (B605.8.w8)
  • Pronolagus crassicaudatus kariegae. (B605.8.w8)
  • Pronolagus crassicaudatus lebombo. (B605.8.w8, B607.w20)
  • Pronolagus crassicaudatus lebomboensis. (B607.w20)
  • Pronolagus crassicaudatus ruddi. (B605.8.w8, B607.w20)

Names for new-borns / juveniles

  • Leveret (B285.w5b)

Names for males

Names for females

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General Appearance

Specific Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information

Adult:

  • Pronolagus spp. have short ears and a uniformly reddish brown to dark brown tail. (B605.8.w8)

Newborn: --

Similar Species

Specific Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information

Similar species include:

Sexual Dimorphism

--

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References

Species Authors & Referees

Author: Kathryn Pintus BSc MSc MSc (V.w115)

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 Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information

  • 35-50 cm. (B285.w5c)
  • 380-560 mm. (B147)
  • Tail: 
  • Hindfoot: 7.5-10 cm. (B285.w5c)
  • Ear: 6-10 cm. (B285.w5c)

Newborns: --

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

WEIGHT
Adult:

Specific Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information

  • 2.0-2.5 kg. (B285.w5c)
  • 1.35-3.05 kg. (B147)

Newborns: --

GROWTH RATE --

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Head and Neck

Notes

GENERAL HEAD STRUCTURE:
Adult:

Specific Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information 

  • Distinguished from the other two Pronolagus species by subtle pelage differences, and differences in the size and shape of the crania. (B605.8.w8)
  • EARS:
    • Short to medium length. (B147)
    • Short ears. (B605.8.w8)
    • 6-10 cm long. (B285.w5c)
    • 63-109 mm long. (B605.8.w8)

Newborn: --

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)

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:

Specific Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information

  • Eyes closed at birth. (B287)

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Legs, Spine and Tracks

Notes

Specific Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information
  • Legs are much shorter than those of Lepus species. (B147)
  • Short feet. (B147)
  • Short, blunt claws. (B147)
  • Hindfoot length: 7.5-10 cm. (B285.w5c)

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Tail

Notes

Specific Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information
  • Length: 5-10 cm. (B285.w5c)
  • Both surfaces are reddish brown to dark brown. The tail is usually bushy. (B147)

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Skin / Coat / Pelage

Notes

Specific Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information

Adult:

  • The coat is thick and woolly, even on the feet, and is a reddish colour. (B147, B285.w5c)
  • Fur appears to pull out easily. (B147)
  • Tail: 
    • Both surfaces are reddish brown to dark brown. The tail is usually bushy. (B147)
    • The tail is a uniform colour, either reddish brown, brown or dark brown. (B605.8.w8)

Adult Colour variations: --

Newborn / Juvenile:

  • Furred at birth. (B287)

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Detailed Anatomy 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 information.

Female reproductive tract

  • Female lagomorphs have between four and ten mammary glands (B147)

Male reproductive tract

  • Males lack a baculum (B147)
  • Testes are in the scrotum located in front of the penis (B147)

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Life Stages / Natural Diet / Physiology

Life Stages

Notes

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

BREEDING SEASON: --

OESTRUS / OVULATION:

General Information

GESTATION / PREGNANCY:

General Information

  • The gestation period in hares is usually between 37-50 days. (B285.w5b)
  • 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)

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)

NEONATAL / DEVELOPMENT:

General Information

  • 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)

LITTER SIZE:

General Information

  • Pronolagus spp. have one or two young per litter. (B147, B287)

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)

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)

SEXUAL MATURITY:

  • Most species of lagomorph reach sexual maturity relatively early. (B285.w5a)

MALE SEASONAL VARIATION: --

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)

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Natural Diet

Notes

NATURAL DIET:

General 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 Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information

  • Grass and herbs. (B285.w5c)

  • Grasses and young twigs. (B147)

QUANTITY EATEN: --

STUDY METHODS: --

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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

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 fecal 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 fecal pellets are not eaten. (B147)

Specific Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information

  • Disc-like faeces. (B605.8.w8)
  • Deposit their faeces in middens. (B605.8.w8)

URINARY SYSTEM (URINE): --

CHROMOSOMES: --

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 chins 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, and specific alarm calls are produced in five rabbit species. (B285.w5b, B430.w2)
  • Hares communicate with each other by drumming their feet. (B147)
  • "When seeking the young for nursing, females call the young and are answered." (B147)

Specific Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information

  • "Utter shrill vocal calls even when not in pain." (B285.w5c)
  • "In apparent contrast to most other leporids, members of this genus emit vocal calls even when not in pain or not being restrained." (B147)
  • When alarmed, this species utters "a loud startling series of screams when racing away at night." (B147)
  • Rockhares are said to be the most vocal of all the African lagomorph species. (B605.8.w8)
  • When disturbed at night, it has been reported that rockhares utter loud startling screams. (B605.8.w8)
  • "Other vocalizations include a churring sound in a hand caught juvenile, and an adult disturbed before sunrise "barked" before fleeing." (B605.8.w8)

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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 fecal 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 toe have the same function as 'chewing the cud' in ruminants). The dry fecal pellets are not eaten. (B147)

Specific Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information

  • Feed at night in open grassy areas. (B147)
  • Forages individually at night. (B605.8.w8)
  • Grazers. (B605.8.w8)

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Parental Behaviour

Notes

Note: There is very little data specific to this species so the details below are from general leporid 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)

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Social Behaviour / Territoriality / Predation / Learning

Notes

SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR:

Specific Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information

  • Lives in small colonies with just a few individuals. (B147)
  • Appears to be a solitary species. (B605.8.w8)
  • Appear to be gregarious when lying up. However, this may only be the case due to the limited availability of suitable rocky habitat. (B605.8.w8)
  • Deposit their faeces in middens, which is thought to have a social function. (B605.8.w8)

PREDATION:

Specific Pronolagus crassicaudatus 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 Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information

  • "If alarmed, they retreat to an observation boulder near their rocky den, into which they can escape if pursued further. These observation boulders apparently are often used, for accumulations of dung nearby provide a conspicuous sign of the animals' presence." (B147)

POPULATION DENSITIES: --

HOME RANGES AND DISTANCES TRAVELLED: --

TERRITORIALITY:

 

  • 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 chins 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)

Specific Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information

  • "...the female rock rabbit may be accompanied by more than one male during the breeding season." (B605.8.w8)

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Activity Patterns, Self-grooming and Navigation

Notes

ACTIVITY PATTERNS:

  • In the early morning, they sun themselves on boulders. (B147)
  • Late afternoon/evening: visit feeding grounds. (B147)
  • Rest in forms or crevices during the day. (B605.8.w8)

SELF-GROOMING: --

CIRCADIAN RHYTHM:

  • This species is nocturnal. (B285.w5c)

SPEED OF MOVEMENT:

  • 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 Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information
  • Rocky grassland. (B285.w5c)
  • Rocky areas, usually with crevices in which to hide. (B147)
  • "They also have been known to live at the edge of dense forests, coming out into open grassy areas to feed at night." (B147)
  • "All rockhare species are restricted to rocky situations in association with grass or scrub on hill and mountainsides." (B605.8.w8)
  • Found from sea level to elevations of 1,550 m. (B605.8.w8)

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Nests / Burrows / Shelters

Notes

Specific Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information
  • Takes shelter in crevices. (B147, B285.w5c)
  • During the day, this species remains hidden under or between large rocks. It may hide in vegetation. (B147)
  • Resting sites are lined with fur. (B147)
  • Rest in forms or crevices during the day. (B605.8.w8)

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Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Notes

Specific Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information
  • Eastern South Africa. (B51)
  • Southeastern South Africa and extreme southern Mozambique. (B147, B285.w5c, B607.w20)
  • Lesotho and Swaziland. (B147)
  • "This species appears to be endemic to the Southern African subregion and, in particular, the eastern Cape Province, Transkei, Natal, eastern Lesotho, Swaziland, southeastern Transvaal and southern Mozambique." (B605.8.w8)
  • Found from sea level to elevations of 1,550 m. (B605.8.w8)

Geographic Sympatry

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Conservation

Species variation

Notes

Specific Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information
Currently recognised subspecies include:
  • Pronolagus crassicaudatus crassicaudatus: includes Pronolagus crassicaudatus kariegae
  • Pronolagus crassicaudatus ruddi: includes Pronolagus crassicaudatus lebombo; Pronolagus crassicaudatus lebomboensis "Roberts, 1936 [lapsus]". (B607.w20)

NB: names in non-bold font are reported as synonyms for that particular subspecies from the reference B607.w20.

  • Previously, five subspecies of the Natal red rock hare were recognised. However "...neither their status nor the geographic limits are well defined." (B605.8.w8)

Previously recognised subspecies include:

  • Pronolagus crassicaudatus crassicaudatus.
  • Pronolagus crassicaudatus ruddi
  • Pronolagus crassicaudatus kariegae
  • Pronolagus crassicaudatus bowkeri
  • Pronolagus crassicaudatus lebombo

(B605.8.w8)

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Conservation Status

Notes

WILD POPULATION - IMPORTANCE: --

GENERAL LEGISLATION: --

CITES LISTING: --

RED-DATA LIST STATUS:

Specific Pronolagus crassicaudatus Information

THREATS: --

PEST STATUS / PEST POPULATIONS: --

CAPTIVE POPULATIONS: --

TRADE AND USE: --

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