Tolai hare

Last updated

Tolai hare
Lepus tolai; Baikonur 01.jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Lagomorpha
Family: Leporidae
Genus: Lepus
L. tolai
Binomial name
Lepus tolai
Pallas, 1778
Tolai Hare area-edit.png
Tolai hare range

The tolai hare (Lepus tolai) is a species of hare native to Central Asia, Mongolia, and Northern and Central China. It inhabits semi-desert, steppes, rocky habitats, and forest meadows. It is relatively common, even in areas with heavy human disturbance, due to its fast reproductive rate. It is mainly active at dusk and at night but is occasionally active during the day. [2]


The taxon is formerly included with the cape hare. [3]


The tolai hare grows to a head-and-body length of between 400 and 590 mm (16 and 23 in) with a tail of 72 to 110 mm (2.8 to 4.3 in). It is rather variable in colouration across its range. The upper parts are some shade of dull yellow, pale brown, or sandy grey with brownish or reddish stripes. The hip region is sometimes ochre or grey. The head has a pale, bare, greyish or ochraceous patch of skin surrounding the eye and extending forwards to near the muzzle and backwards to the base of the long ears, which have black tips. The underparts and flanks are pure white. The tail has a broad black or brownish-black stripe on the top. [4]

Distribution and habitat

The tolai hare is native to central and eastern Asia. Its range extends from the eastern side of the Caspian Sea through Iran, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, through southern Siberia and Mongolia to western, central and north-eastern China. It is a creature of semi-arid steppe, mountain steppe, rocky areas, rough grassland and forest grassland, preferring shrubby areas where there is plenty of cover. Its elevation range is generally between 600 and 900 m (2,000 and 3,000 ft) above sea level, but a single individual has been recorded much higher in Jammu and Kashmir. [1]


Young tolai hare Lepus tolai; Baikonur 03.jpg
Young tolai hare

The tolai hare is a nocturnal species and feeds on grasses, herbaceous plants and roots. It does not dig a burrow except when it is breeding, but scrapes out a depression in the ground in which to lie; this scoop is shallow in hot weather but is deeper in colder conditions. Breeding takes place two or three times a year, with litters of two to six young being produced each time. [4]

In the neolithic Yangjiesha site of Loess Plateau, signs of commensal behavior (taming) between local tolai hares and humans can be found. [5]


The tolai hare has a wide range and is generally a common species. It is hunted in places for its meat and skin, and in Mongolia it is used in traditional medicine. It is present in a number of protected areas, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as being of "least concern". [1]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hare</span> Genus of mammals in the family Leporidae

Hares and jackrabbits are mammals belonging to the genus Lepus. They are herbivores, and live solitarily or in pairs. They nest in slight depressions called forms, and their young are able to fend for themselves shortly after birth. The genus includes the largest lagomorphs. Most are fast runners with long, powerful hind legs, and large ears to dissipate body heat. Hare species are native to Africa, Eurasia and North America. A hare less than one year old is called a "leveret". A group of hares is called a "husk", a "down" or a "drove".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eastern imperial eagle</span> Species of bird

The eastern imperial eagle is a large bird of prey that breeds in southeastern Europe and extensively through West and Central Asia. Most populations are migratory and winter in northeastern Africa, the Middle East and South and East Asia. Like all eagles, the eastern imperial eagle is a member of the family Accipitridae. Furthermore, its well feathered legs mark it as a member of the subfamily Aquilinae. It is a large, dark-colored eagle, with a resemblance to other members of the genus Aquila but it is usually the darkest species in its range. This is an opportunistic predator that mostly selects smallish mammals as prey but also a fairly large proportion of birds, reptile and other prey types, including carrion. Compared to other Aquila eagles, it has a strong preference for the interface of tall woods with plains and other open, relatively flat habitats, including the wooded mosaics of the steppe. Normally, nests are located in large, mature trees and the parents raise around one or two fledglings. The global population is small and declining due to persecution, loss of habitat and prey. It has therefore been IUCN Red Listed as Vulnerable since 1994.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Leporidae</span> Family of lagomorphs

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Steppe eagle</span> Species of bird

The steppe eagle is a large bird of prey. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. The steppe eagle's well-feathered legs illustrate it to be a member of the subfamily Aquilinae, also known as the "booted eagles". This species was once considered to be closely related to the sedentary tawny eagle and the two forms have previously been treated as conspecific. They were split based on pronounced differences in morphology and anatomy; two molecular studies, each based on a very small number of genes, indicate that the species are distinct but disagree over how closely related they are.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">White-tailed jackrabbit</span> Species of mammal

The white-tailed jackrabbit, also known as the prairie hare and the white jack, is a species of hare found in western North America. Like all hares and rabbits, it is a member of the family Leporidae of order Lagomorpha. It is a solitary individual except where several males court a female in the breeding season. Litters of four to five young are born in a form, a shallow depression in the ground, hidden among vegetation. This jackrabbit has two described subspecies: L. townsendii townsendii occurring west of the Rocky Mountains and L. townsendii campanius occurring east of the Rocky Mountains.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Asiatic wildcat</span> Small wild cat

The Asiatic wildcat, also known as the Asian steppe wildcat and the Indian desert cat is an African wildcat subspecies that occurs from the eastern Caspian Sea north to Kazakhstan, into western India, western China and southern Mongolia. There is no information on current status or population numbers for the Asiatic wildcat's entire range, but populations are thought to be declining.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Manchurian hare</span> Species of mammal

The Manchurian hare is a species of hare found in northeastern China and Russia, the Amur River basin, and the higher mountains of northern North Korea. It lives in forests and the IUCN has assessed its conservation status as being of "least concern".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chinese striped hamster</span> Species of rodent

The Chinese striped hamster, also known as the striped dwarf hamster, is a species of hamster. It is distributed across Northern Asia, from southern Siberia through Mongolia and northeastern China to northern North Korea. An adult Chinese striped hamster weighs 20 to 35 g, and has a body length of 72 to 116 mm with a tail of 15 to 26 mm. It is smaller and has a much shorter tail than the greater long-tailed hamster, Tscherskia triton, which inhabits much of the same range.

Maximowicz's vole is a species of rodent in the family Cricetidae. It is found in northeastern China, Mongolia, and eastern Russia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Upland buzzard</span> Species of bird

The upland buzzard is a species of bird of prey in the family Accipitridae. The largest species of the Buteo genus, this buzzard lives in mountainous grassy and rocky areas in areas of Central Asia, northern South Asia and East Asia from Kazakhstan to Korea. The upland buzzard is migratory but typically covers a short distance apparently to avoid snow cover that may hamper prey capture. This species primarily subsists on small mammals but does not shun alternate prey from small to large birds and insects. This little known raptor has a large range, and though generally uncommon, it is not thought to be rare or declining as a species. As a result it is classified as least concern by the IUCN.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yunnan hare</span> Species of mammal

The Yunnan hare is a medium-sized species of mammal in the family Leporidae. It has soft, flat, and long dorsal pelage which is grayish brown or dark gray in color, and whitish ventral pelage. It was considered endemic to China, but its presence was recorded in northern Myanmar in 2000. It is a herbivore, and forages on shrubs and forbs. It is rated as a species of least concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Endangered Species. The Red List of China's Vertebrates has listed the Yunnan hare as near threatened, almost meeting the criteria to be listed as vulnerable.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ethiopian hare</span> Species of mammal

The Ethiopian hare is a species of mammal in the family Leporidae. It was first described in 1903, by the British mammalogist Oldfield Thomas. The dorsal pelage is brownish buff, and is finely grizzled with black. The ventral pelage is fluffy and white in colour. Endemic to Ethiopia, it is found in the Afromontane Biozone of Ethiopia, and in the borders of the Sudanian Savanna Biozone. It is rated as a least concern species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Abyssinian hare</span> Species of mammal

The Abyssinian hare is a species of mammal in the family Leporidae. It is almost entirely restricted to the nations of the Horn of Africa, though it extends marginally into eastern Sudan and may also occur in far northern Kenya.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Woolly hare</span> Species of mammal

The woolly hare is a species of mammal in the family Leporidae. It is found in western and central China, northern India, and Nepal, where its typical habitat is montane grassland. It has a wide range and is present in some protected areas but is a generally uncommon species; the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as being of "least concern".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ethiopian highland hare</span> Species of mammal

The Ethiopian highland hare or Starck's hare is a medium-sized species of mammal in the rabbit and hare family, Leporidae. Its dorsal pelage is grizzled, buff white and spotted and streaked with black, while its belly fur is pure white and fluffy. It is endemic to the Ethiopian Highlands, ranging over the Afroalpine regions of the Shoa, Bale, and Arsi Provinces of Ethiopia. A herbivore, it mostly feeds on moorland grasses. The IUCN rates it as a species of least concern.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yarkand hare</span> Species of mammal

The Yarkand hare is a species of mammal in the family Leporidae. It has soft, straight, sandy brown dorsal pelage which has grayish-black stripes, and completely white ventral pelage. Endemic to China, the Yarkand hare is restricted to the Tarim Basin in Southern Xinjiang, China. It is mainly nocturnal, and forages on grass and crops. The female produces two or three litters annually, each consisting of two to five young. It is rated as near threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Endangered Species and by the Red List of China's Vertebrates. However, Chinese geneticists have stated the species is "endangered" due to limited habitat and its fragmentation, and over-hunting and poaching.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Black-tailed jackrabbit</span> Common hare of the western United States and Mexico

The black-tailed jackrabbit, also known as the American desert hare, is a common hare of the western United States and Mexico, where it is found at elevations from sea level up to 10,000 ft (3,000 m). Reaching a length around 2 ft (61 cm), and a weight from 3 to 6 lb, the black-tailed jackrabbit is one of the largest North American hares. Black-tailed jackrabbits occupy mixed shrub-grassland terrains. Their breeding depends on the location; it typically peaks in spring, but may continue all year round in warm climates. Young are born fully furred with eyes open; they are well camouflaged and are mobile within minutes of birth, thus females do not protect or even stay with the young except during nursing. The average litter size is around four, but may be as low as two and as high as seven in warm regions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Desert hare</span> Species of mammal

The desert hare is a species of hare found in Central Asia, Northwest China, and the western Indian subcontinent. Little is known about this species except that it inhabits grassland and scrub areas of desert and semi-desert. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as being of "least concern."

<i>Podarcis tauricus</i> Species of lizard

Podarcis tauricus, the Balkan wall lizard, is a common lizard in the family Lacertidae native to south eastern Europe and Asia Minor. It is a terrestrial species found in steppe, grassland, olive groves, cultivated land, meadows, rural gardens, sparsely vegetated sand dunes and scrubby areas.

The Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve, commonly shortened to Ikh Nart Nature Reserve is a protected area in the East Gobi Province of Mongolia. It occupies part of two counties, Dalanjargalan and Airag. The nature reserve has an area of about 66,000 hectares and was established in 1996. It consists of rocky outcrops surrounded by dry grassland and semi-desert steppe and is one of the places in which the rare argali wild sheep can be found.


  1. 1 2 3 Smith, A.T.; Johnston, C.H. (2019). "Lepus tolai". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2019: e.T41308A45193447. doi: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-1.RLTS.T41308A45193447.en . Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. Aulagnier S.; P. Haffner, A. J. Mitchell-Jones, F. Moutou & J. Zima (2009) Mammals of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, A&C Black, London.
  3. Lado, S; Alves, PC; Islam, MZ; Brito, JC; Melo-Ferreira, J (November 2019). "The evolutionary history of the Cape hare (Lepus capensis sensu lato): insights for systematics and biogeography". Heredity. 123 (5): 634–646. doi:10.1038/s41437-019-0229-8. PMC   6972951 . PMID   31073237.
  4. 1 2 Smith, Andrew T.; Xie, Yan; Hoffmann, Robert S.; Lunde, Darrin; MacKinnon, John; Wilson, Don E.; Wozencraft, W. Chris (2010). A Guide to the Mammals of China. Princeton University Press. pp. 291–292. ISBN   1-4008-3411-2.
  5. Sheng, Pengfei; Hu, Yaowu; Sun, Zhouyong; Yang, Liping; Hu, Songmei; Fuller, Benjamin T.; Shang, Xue (June 2020). "Early commensal interaction between humans and hares in Neolithic northern China". Antiquity. 94 (375): 622–636. doi:10.15184/aqy.2020.36.