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a family of mammals of the order of Lagomorpha. There are eight genera: the hares (one genus), the bristly rabbits (three genera), and the rabbits (four genera); they encompass 50 species. Individual species have adapted to fast running, digging, swimming, and clambering. They are found throughout the world except the island of Madagascar, the southern regions of South America, and Antarctica. Leporidae live in the most diverse conditions. They feed on grassy plants and the roots, buds, and branches of varieties of trees. They multiply as often as four times annually, bearing two to eight (and up to 15) offspring.
Hares lead a very mobile and individual life, without permanent shelter. The young are born directly onto the ground, open-eyed, covered with fur, and capable of locomotion. They can feed themselves when only a few days old.
Rabbits live in burrows in colonies. Their young are born naked, blind, and helpless. Many species of Leporidae are exploited commercially or for sport; some species have been acclimatized by man for such purposes, such as the true rabbit and the hare. Some species cause great damage to pastures, fruit orchards, and forest plantings. Individual species spread the carriers of natural infectious diseases. Five species of Leporidae are found in the USSR: the Manchurian hare (Caprolagus brachyurus), the Old World rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), the white hare (Lepus timidus), the brown hare (L. europaeus), and the Tolai hare (L. tolai).
O. L. ROSSOLIMO