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Rabbits Pikas and Hares: Lagomorpha - Physical Characteristics

lagomorphs wide ears mammals

Lagomorphs are small to medium-sized mammals categorized into two families: Leporidae (rabbits and hares) and Ochotonidae (pikas [PEE-kuhz]). Rabbits and hares have long hind legs adapted for running at fast speeds over open ground. Pikas are small mammals with large, round ears and resemble guinea pigs in size and appearance. Adult rabbits and hares have a body length of 10 to 28 inches (25.4 to 71.1 centimeters) and weigh 14 ounces to 15.3 pounds (400 to 7,000 grams). They have short, furry tails and ear sizes vary greatly and generally are shorter in rabbits and longer in hares. The main exceptions are the rabbit breeds known as lops, which have long, floppy ears. Females are generally larger than males. Hares generally are larger than rabbits and have black-tipped ears.

Rabbits and hares usually have thick, soft fur that comes in a wide spectrum of colors, shades, and combinations, including black, white, brown, beige, tan, blue, orange, red, pink, cream, lilac, silver, and lavender.

Pikas are small, compact mammals with short front and rear legs. They range in length from 5 to 12 inches (125 to 300 millimeters) and weigh 3.5 to 7 ounces (100 to 200 grams). Pikas lack a noticeable tail. They have long, soft fur that is usually gray or brown.

Lagomorphs have eyes set high on their head, looking sideways, giving them a wide field of vision. They have weak but flexible necks, allowing them to turn their heads with a wide range of motion. Lagomorphs have a single opening to pass both urine and feces. They also have a specialized part of their large intestine, called the cecum (SEE-kum), which acts as a fermentation chamber and aids in digestion of grasses.

Rabbits Pikas and Hares: Lagomorpha - Behavior And Reproduction [next]

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