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Latin name: Lepus timidus
Family: Crochet

The hare-hare is a mammal of the genus of hares of a detachment of lagiformes. A common animal of the north of Eurasia.

Large hare: body length of adult animals from 44 to 65 cm, occasionally reaching 74 cm; Body weight 1,6-4,5 kg. The average size decreases from north-west to south-east. The largest whites live in the tundra of Western Siberia (up to 5,5 kg), the smallest in Yakutia and the Far East (3 kg). Ears are long (7,5-10 cm), but noticeably shorter than that of a haremaker. The tail is usually entirely white; Relatively short and round, length 5-10,8, see Paws relatively wide; The feet, including the pads of the fingers, are covered with a thick brush of hair. Load per 1 cm2 The soles of the soles of the hare are only 8,5-12 g, which allows him to move easily even on loose snow. (For comparison, in a fox it is equal to 40-43 g, for a wolf 90-103 g, and for a dog hound 90-110 d). In coloring there is a clearly expressed seasonal dimorphism: in winter, pure white whiteness, with the exception of the black tips of the ears; Coloring of summer fur in various parts of the range - from reddish-gray to aspid gray with a brown streaming. The head is usually colored somewhat darker than the back; The sides are lighter. The belly is white. Only in areas where there is no sustainable snow cover, the hares do not whiten for the winter. The females of whites are on average larger than males, they do not differ in color. In the karyotype of the white hen 48 chromosomes.


It fades the white hen 2 times a year - in spring and autumn. Moult is tightly connected with external conditions: its beginning triggers a change in the duration of a day's light, and the air temperature determines the rate of flow. Each part of the body is emptied at a certain average daily temperature. Spring molting in most of the range begins in February-March and lasts 75-80 days; In the north of Eastern Siberia and the Far East - in April-May and is more violent, about a month. The peak of molting usually occurs during the period of snow melting; At this time the winter wool falls off in tatters. In general, molting goes from the head to the rump and from the back to the belly. Completely transfigured animals occur from mid-May (south) to early June (north of the range). Autumn molting begins almost simultaneously throughout the range - in late August-September; Lasts 80 days, usually ending at the time of snow cover establishment. Adult hares shed a little before the young. In weakened animals molting is sometimes delayed until December. Autumn molt goes in the opposite direction - from the back of the body to the head.


The white hare inhabits the tundra, forest and partially forest-steppe zones of Northern Europe (Scandinavia, northern Poland, isolated populations in Ireland, Scotland, Wales), Russia, Siberia, Kazakhstan, Transbaikalia, the Far East, northwestern Mongolia, northeast China , Japan (Hokkaido Island). Acclimatized in South America (Chile and Argentina). Inhabits some arctic islands (Novosibirsk, Vaigach, Kolguev). In the relatively recent past, it was much more southerly; The relict area of ​​the former range remained in the Swiss Alps. In Russia it is spread over most of the territory, in the north up to the tundra zone inclusive. The southern boundary of the range passes along the southern margins of the forest zone. In fossil remnants is known from the Upper Pleistocene deposits of the upper Don, from the middle current region The Urals, The western Transbaikal (Mount Tolloga).


Within its vast range, the hare is distributed unevenly, gravitating toward the land, providing it with food and reliable protection. Most evenly it is settled in the summer, when there is a lot of forages and it is easy to move around; In autumn and winter makes seasonal nomadic. In the years of high numbers, its habitats are most diverse. Almost everywhere, it is common in the valleys of large rivers, where it not only finds good fodder conditions, but also escapes from parasites, "bathing" in riverine sand. In the tundra zone it gravitates toward shrub tundra; It is common on the sea coast. In the forest zone, almost does not occur in continuous forest tracts (especially taiga forests) with a high density of stands; The most attractive for him are forests, rarefied meadows, river valleys, as well as with areas of old, overgrown fires and cuttings. The central regions of Russia are very favorable for the whitecap, where coniferous forest areas usually coexist with deciduous and farmland. Avoids extensive open swamps. In Eastern Siberia it is common as in river valleys with willow beds, and in larch forests with a developed undergrowth. In the forest-steppe of Western Siberia and Kazakhstan it is common for birch twigs, thickets of reeds and high dense grass. In the mountains (Alps, Altai, Sayans) occurs from the foothills to the mountain tundra and loaches. It is widely found near settlements. Normally, whites are leading a single territorial lifestyle, occupying individual plots in 3-30 ha. On the most part of the range it is a sedentary beast, and its movements are limited to a seasonal change of fodder land. Autumn and winter are seasonal migrations to forests; In the spring - to open places, where the first grass appears. The reasons for the movement can serve as precipitation - in rainy years the hares leave the lowlands and move to the heights. In the mountains make seasonal vertical movements. In the north of the range in the summer, hares, fleeing from the nest, migrate to river floodplains or other open areas; In winter they migrate to places with low snow cover. In Yakutia in the fall, hares descend to the river floodplains, and in the spring they rise to the mountains, per day passing to 10 km. Mass migrations are characteristic only of the tundra, especially with a high number of hares. Their cause is mainly high snow cover, which does not allow eating low-growing tundra vegetation. For example, in the Taimyr, hares since September go to the south, gathering in packs of 15-20, or even 70-80 individuals. The length of the migration route sometimes reaches hundreds of kilometers. Spring migrations are less noticeable than autumn ones.


Belyak is a herbivore with a clearly expressed seasonality of nutrition. In spring and summer it feeds on green parts of plants; In different parts of the range, preferring clover, dandelion, mouse peas, yarrow, goldenrod, bedrock, sedges, cereals. Willingly feeds on oats and clover in the fields. In the north-west of the range, in large numbers, it eats shoots and fruits of blueberries. Some places eat horsetails and mushrooms, in particular, a deer truffle that digs out of the ground. In autumn, as the grass dries up, the hares begin to eat small twigs of shrubs. As the snow cover is established, nutrition with coarse fodder becomes more important. In winter, whitefish feed on shoots and bark of various trees and shrubs. Practically everywhere in its diet includes various willows and aspen. Birches and larch eat them less readily, but because of their accessibility they serve as an important source of food, especially in the northern and eastern regions. In the south, the whitefish often feeds on shoots of broad-leaved species - oak, maple, hazel. In places in the diet, the mountain ash, cherry, alder, juniper, and dogrose are great. If possible, and in winter digs and eats herbaceous plants and berries; Feeds hay in the haystacks. In the mountains of the Far East digs out from under the snow cones pine cedar. In spring, hares gather on lawns with young grass flocks in 10-30 heads and eagerly eat it. At this time, they are sometimes so addicted to feeding that they lose their usual caution. Like all herbivorous animals, the squirrel lacks mineral salts. Therefore, he periodically eats the soil and swallows small pebbles. Willingly visits solonetses, gnaws bones of fallen animals and the horns dropped by elk.


Belyak is a very prolific animal. In the Arctic, in the north of Yakutia and in Chukotka, females manage to produce only 1 brood per year (in summer), but 2-3 times a year reproduce in most of the range. The gon passes more or less in unison; At this time the females publish a characteristic scream (kuberkane) to attract males. There are often fights among males. The first gon passes in late February - early March in the south of the range; At the end of March - in the north of the European part of Russia, in the north of Western Siberia, in the south of Yakutia and on Sakhalin; In April - early May in the north of Yakutia, in Chukotka and in the Arctic regions of Siberia. It usually involves 80-90% of females. Zaychat are born in 47-55 days, in mid-April-mid-May. In the forests at this time, there is still snow in places, so they will borrow the first litter for nibs. Soon after birth, the hare is mated again. The second rally takes place in May-early June, and almost all females participate in it. Zaychat of the second litter are born in the end of June - July. In July - early August in the central and southern regions of Russia is the third gong. In it participate only 40% of females. Zaychat of the third litter are born in late August - early September, and sometimes later, at the time of leaf fall, which is why they are called falling leaves. Occasionally, the first rabbits are found already in March, and the last - in November, but early and belated broods, as a rule, perish.


The amount of borrowed in the litter depends strongly on the habitat, age and physiological condition of the female. In general, they are from 1 to 11; In taiga and tundra rabbits, on average, 7 will borrow in the litter, in the middle and southern parts of the range - 2-5. As a result, the annual fecundity of southern whites is only slightly more than that of the northern ones. The largest number of borrowed always happens in the second, summer litter. Okot usually passes on the surface of the earth, in a secluded place. Only in the Far North of the rabbit, shallow burrows are sometimes digged. Zaychat are born 90-130 g, covered with thick fur, seeing. Already on the first day of life they are able to move independently. Hare's milk is very nutritious and fatty (12% protein and 15% fat), so the hare can feed hunt not more often than once a day. There are numerous cases of feeding zaychihami strangers hunt. Zaychats grow rapidly and on 8-10 day they are already beginning to be fed with grass. Become independent at the age of 2 weeks. Sexual maturity is reached in 10 months. Belyaki live in nature until 7-17 years, although the vast majority do not survive to 5 years. Females are most fertile at the age of 2-7 years, but already with 4 year of life fecundity begins to decline.

Number and significance for man

In general, the hare-hare is a normal species, easily adapting to the presence of a person. The number varies throughout the years, sometimes several hundred times. The main cause of depressions in numbers are epizootics following "harvests" of hares. The nature of an epizootic can not always be established. There are cases of mass death of white whites from parasitic worms, of which roundworms are particularly dangerous - nematodes settling in the lungs. In this case, the epizooty covers up to 100% of the local hare population. Ordinary-worm diseases caused by nematodes and cestodes are also common. In some places hares are affected by hepatic trematodes, coccidiosis, which is especially dangerous for young animals. Known epizootic and bacterial nature - tularemia, pseudotuberculosis. In the years of high numbers of hares, the number of predators that exterminate them increases: lynx, fox, golden eagle, and eagle owls. With the epizootics that began, predators accelerate the extinction of hares, and after its termination, the restoration of the livestock is delayed. Years of high and low numbers alternate with a certain cyclicality. In the north, large "harvests" of whitefish come through 10-12 years; In the south a little more often, but with less accuracy. At the same time, neither high yields nor pits never cover the entire range at the same time.

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