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Latin name: Lepus europaeus
Family: Crochet

Hare-hare refers to large hares: length of body 57-68 cm; Weight 4-6 kg, rarely - up to 7 kg. The largest specimens are found in the north and north-east of the range. The constitution is fragile. Externally, a hare is well distinguished from a white dog with longer ears (9,4-14 cm), a long wedge-shaped tail (7,2-14 cm in length), black or black-brown color from above. Eyes are reddish-brown. The hind legs are longer than the hood, but the paws are shorter and narrower (the length of the foot is 13,6-18,5 cm), since the hare is found in regions where the snow cover is relatively shallow and hard. Summer coloration is ohristo-gray, brown, brown, ocher-red or olive-brown, of different shades. Characterized by large dark pestriny formed by the ends of hair undercoat. The ends of the outer hair are buffy. The fur of the hare is shiny, silky, visibly crinkled. The sides are painted lighter than the back; Belly white, without ripples. Around the eyes are white rings. The tips of the ears are black all year round. The winter fur is a little lighter than the summer (unlike the whitecaps, the hare is never snow-white in winter); Head, tips of the ears and front of the back and remain dark in winter. Sexual dimorphism is absent in coloration. In the karyotype of 48 chromosomes.


Like all rabbits, moult in Rusak passes in spring and autumn. Spring molt usually begins in the second half of March and lasts 75-80 days, ending by mid-May. Most violently it occurs in April, when the wool falls out in shreds. The general direction of molting is from the head to the back of the body. In autumn, summer hair gradually falls out, and they are replaced by thick and magnificent winter fur. The direction of autumn molting back to the direction of spring - it starts with the hips, then goes to the croup, the ridge, the front paws and the sides. The longest summer fur remains on the back and near the eyes. The moulting usually begins in September; It ends at the end of November, although in warm weather it can drag on until December.


Rusak is a native steppe animal of Europe, the Near and Middle Asia and North Africa. His resettlement to the north probably began no earlier than the middle of the Quaternary period. Currently, it is distributed in the steppes, forest-steppes, tundra and low-growing areas of the forest zone of Europe, in the north to Ireland, Scotland, southern Sweden and Finland, in the south to Turkey, Transcaucasia, Iran, the north of the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, northern Kazakhstan. Fossil remains are known from the Pleistocene deposits of Azerbaijan and the Crimea. Within Russia it is found throughout the European part of the country to the northern coasts Ladoga и Onega Lake, Northern Dvina; Further the boundary of distribution goes through Kirov, Perm, skirting the Ural mountains, through Kurgan to the Pavlodar region of Kazakhstan. The southern boundary passes through Transcaucasia, the Caspian region, Ustyurt, the northern Prearalie to Karaganda. Acclimatized in several regions of Southern Siberia (foothill areas Altai, Salair and Kuznetsk Alatau). Produced in the Altai and Krasnoyarsk regions, in the Novosibirsk, Kemerovo, Irkutsk and Chita regions. Acclimatized in the Far East: in the Khabarovsk Territory released in 1963-1964. (Jewish Autonomous Region), in 1965 - in Primorsky Krai (Ussuriysky and Mykhailivsky Districts). In Buryatia, acclimatization attempts were unsuccessful. Artificially settled in North America. So, the hare was brought to the state of New York in 1893 and in 1912 - to the province of Ontario (Canada). It is now found, mainly in the Great Lakes region. He was also imported to Central and South America; Was acclimatized in New Zealand and southern Australia, where it became a pest.


An inhabitant of open spaces, forest-steppe, steppe, desert-steppe landscapes. Its main habitats in the forest zone are open spaces: fields, meadows, fringes, extensive felling, glades, gari. In the depths of coniferous massifs it is rare, more common in deciduous forests, although here it prefers woodlands. Particularly beloved by the hare are plots where agricultural lands alternate with small copses, thickets of bushes and a network of ravines and gullies. In the forest-steppe and steppe zones it occurs along the beams, floodplains of rivers, in deposits and crops of grain crops. In the mountains it is found up to the alpine belt, not only in the mountain steppes, but also in the forests. In summer it rises in the mountains to 1500-2000 m, in winter it goes down. Everywhere it gravitates toward populated areas (especially in winter), as well as to reservoirs. Normally a hare is a settled territorial beast. Depending on the habitat of the habitat, it can permanently keep on one site, occupying 30-50 ha. In other regions, the Rusaks make daily trips from the places of the spoons to the places of feeding, passing ten kilometers. There are also seasonal movements; In autumn and winter, a hare is often moved closer to the settlements, the outskirts of the forests and to elevated areas where there is less snow. In the mountains they fall down in the floodplains of the rivers in autumn, and in the spring they climb back to the mountains. Under adverse conditions (high snow cover, ice crust), preventing the production of food from under the snow, there are massive migrations. In the southern regions, the movement of Rusak was noted in the spring and summer period and is associated with human economic activity. Active tutors mostly in the twilight and night hours. Only during the rutting period there is daily activity. The greatest activity is in the first half of the night and in the pre-hours. For a single fat, the hare goes up to several kilometers; Animals living in open areas usually pass more than those who live near forest fringes and in the bush. Under adverse conditions, a haremaker can not go on fattening for several days. The hare of a hare in the summer is usually just a small hole dug under the cover of a bush, a fallen tree or curtains of tall grass. Often it simply lies under a bush or in a field boundary. Constant burrows do not suit, sometimes digs temporary day holes in extreme heat. Can rest in abandoned burrows badgers, foxes and marmots. The location of the hare's hideouts depends on the season and weather conditions. Spring laying is often located in warm places; In rainy weather the hare keeps on the more dry heights, but in dry, on the contrary, in the lowlands. In winter, the hiking takes place in the snow in a place closed from the wind; In areas with deep snow, hares sometimes dig burrows up to 2 m. Often, Rusak lie in autumn and winter in haystacks, near buildings on the outskirts of populated areas. The hare runs faster than the white fox; His jumps are longer. At a short distance it is able to develop the running speed up to 50-60 km / h in a straight line. Confuses the tracks. He can swim well. Like all rabbits, Rusaks are quiet beasts; Only when they are caught or wounded do they make a high scream. The female calls to borrow, issuing quiet sounds. An anxious mermaid snaps his teeth, as do many rodents. Another kind of communication is rapping with paws, like a knock on a drum.


In the summer, a hare feeds on plants and young shoots of trees and shrubs. Most often eats leaves and stems, but can dig up and roots; In the second half of summer eats seeds (contributes to their spread, as not all seeds are digested). The composition of the diet of the summer diet is very diverse - various wild-growing (dandelion, chicory, tansy, bird mountaineer, rape, clover, alfalfa) and cultivated (sunflower, buckwheat, cereals) plants. Willingly eats vegetable and melon crops. In winter, unlike a white fowl, he continues to feed on seeds and rags of grass, winter crops, the remains of garden crops, digging them out from under the snow. With a deep snow cover, it switches to eating tree and shrub vegetation (shoots, bark). The most carefully eats maple, oak, hazel, broom, as well as apple and pear; Aspen and willow, beloved by the whitecoy, consumes less often. Hare winter dippers like to visit the gray partridges, which are not able to dig themselves.


The duration and timing of the breeding season for hares differ depending on the part of the range. So, in Western Europe it usually lasts from March to September; For this time about 75% of females have time to bring on 4 brood, and in the years with warm winter and early spring - and 5. In favorable climatic conditions, the gong continues throughout the year, and the first bunnies appear in January. In the north of the range of broods 1-2. In the middle zone of Russia, the first gong is held in late February - March (males are active since January), the second - in April - early May, the third - in June. Pregnancy lasts 45-48 days, so the first bunnies appear in April - early May, the second brood - at the end of May - June (the peak of reproduction), the third - in August. Repeated rabbits mate immediately after birth, and sometimes even before them. In general, the rusk among the Russian hounds is not as friendly as that of the whites, so that pregnant females and bunny can be found earlier and later than usual seasons. The amount borrowed in the brood varies from 1 to 9. The size of the brood is influenced by many conditions. In general, broods are larger in areas where hares have fewer reproductive cycles. Winter, early spring and autumn broods are smaller than summer ones - in them 1-2 lynx. The middle-aged females bring the most. Before giving birth, females arrange primitive nests from the grass, dig holes or, in a hot climate, shallow burrows. Zaychat are born sighted and covered with fur, weight 80-150. The female comes to feed the offspring once a day, and sometimes even less - up to 1 times in 4 days. From 5 the days of life of rabbit begin to move near the place of birth; To 2 weeks reach the weight of 300-400 g and already actively eat grass, and in 3-4 the weeks become independent. There are known cases of feeding zaychihami strangers borrowed, provided that they are of the same age as her own, but this is observed less often than a whitefly. Sexual maturity of Rusak usually reach only the next spring; Very rarely, in the western parts of the range, the females begin to reproduce in the same summer. Known hybrids of hares with whites (cuffs). They were found both in nature and received when keeping the zoo in the zoo. When kept in captivity cuffs are able to multiply. Life expectancy of Russian hags 6-7 years (in exceptional cases survived to 10-12 years), but most of the animals live no more than 4-5 years.

Number and significance for man

In general, the hare-hare is the most common species, whose number in some years reaches many millions of individuals. The number of people undergoes significant changes in terms of years, depending on various factors: epizootics, lack of feed, etc., but they are not as sharp as in the whitefish. In the taiga, the cycle of oscillations is 10-11 years, in the south of the range fluctuations are more frequent and disorderly. Rusak is a valuable game animal, an object of amateur and sport hunting. Annually is extracted in significant quantities for meat and skins. Can harm winter crops, orchards and nurseries: overnight a hare can swallow 10-15 fruit trees. In Argentina, Australia and, to a lesser extent, in North America, introduced hares are pests of agriculture. Rusak suffer a number of diseases. Although they, in contrast to the whites, are less susceptible to diseases with pulmonary-helminthic disease and less often are infected with hepatic trematodes, coccidiosis is widespread among them, especially among young animals. Mass mortality from this disease is between the ages of 5 weeks and 5 months. Known epizootic pasteurellosis, tularemia, porcine brucellosis and other infectious diseases; Is a carrier of toxoplasmosis. Rusaks are more likely than unfriendly people to suffer from unfavorable weather conditions. Especially pernicious for them are snow-capped, blizzard winters that do not allow hares to feed normally, and unstable springs with alternating thaws and frosts, during which early broods die. A certain role in the changes in numbers is played by predators. Foxes, wolves, coyotes, lynxes, eagles hunt furrows.

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