The Tolai Hare (Lepus tolai) is a lagomorph mammal in the Leporidae family of hares.
The Tolai Hare is variable in colour, but it usually has pale-brown, sandy-grey, or brownish-yellow fur. It has a white underbelly. It has black-tipped elongated ears. It has long legs, a flexible neck, and a short, stub tail, called a scut, with a brownish-black stripe on the top. It has large incisors (front teeth) as well as cheek teeth. It has orange-brown eyes.
It grows to 40-60 centimetres (16-23 inches), with a tail length of 7-11 centimetres (3-4 inches). Its ears range from 9-11 centimetres (3-4 inches).
It is native to Mongolia, China, and Central Asia – in countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
It prefers semi-deserts, steppes, rocky habitats, and forest meadows. It is terrestrial, living on the ground. It does not dig a burrow except in the breeding season. Instead, it scrapes a depression in the ground to lie in.
The Tolai is herbivorous, feeding on grass, weeds, and herbs, as well as twigs, bark, flower buds, and vegetables. Its large incisor teeth enable it to cut grass. Its teeth grow continuously. It forages in groups, with some hares keeping guard in case of danger.
Its predators include birds of prey, dogs, foxes, wolves, cats, and wild cats.
Generally nocturnal and shy in nature, it is most active at night. In spring, it is active in the day time, during the breeding season.
It has wide nostrils (nose holes) and a large heart, which enable it to run fast. It can run at 72 kilometres per hour (45 miles per hour).
The male is called a buck and the female is called a doe. The doe gives birth in a hollow depression in the ground. She is pregnant for about 42 days, before giving birth to 2-4 live young in each litter. The young, called leverets, are precocial, because they are born with fur. They can leave the nest soon after birth.
Location of photograph: Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM