Castroviejo hare

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Castroviejo hare
Subclass : Higher mammals (Eutheria)
Superordinate : Euarchontoglires
Order : Hare-like (Lagomorpha)
Family : Hares (Leporidae)
Genre : Real rabbits ( Lepus )
Type : Castroviejo hare
Scientific name
Lepus castroviejoi
Palacios , 1977

The Castroviejo hare or gorse hare ( Lepus castroviejoi ) is a species of mammal from the rabbit family (Leporidae). It was only described as a separate species in 1977. The Castroviejo hare is endemic to Spain and only inhabits a small area in the northwest. The IUCN classifies the species as endangered ("vulnerable").


The Castroviejo hare is slightly smaller and lighter than the similar field hare . The head-trunk length is 490-520 mm, the tail length 70-96 mm, the length of the hind feet 135-145 mm and the ear length 91-95 mm. The animals weigh 2.0-3.5 kg. The fur is long-haired, the top hair is curved. Compared to the hare, the fur on the top is more yellowish-brown and the underside is more white in color. On the head there is a light stripe from the eye to the throat.

distribution and habitat

Distribution area of ​​the Castroviejo hare

The species is in an approximately 5,000 square kilometer area in northwest Spain endemic . The distribution area extends in the Cantabrian Mountains in east-west direction over about 230 km and in north-south direction over 25-40 km. In the summer inhabit Castroviejo rabbits preferred heathlands in 1300-1900 meters above sea level, among other things, with heather , gorse and juniper are covered. However, the species also occurs on clear-cuts in deciduous forests and on fresh burned areas. In winter, the animals seek lower-lying areas up to 1000 m altitude, probably mainly to avoid the snow. Overall, the habitable habitats and thus the distribution of the species are highly fragmented.

Way of life

Little is known about the way of life of this species, but the area of activity , settlement density and food preferences presumably largely correspond to those of the brown hare in corresponding habitats. So far nothing is known about reproduction.

Existence and endangerment

Because of its small distribution area, its occurrence, which is probably divided into numerous individual populations, and the fact that hunting is still going on, the Castroviejo hare is listed by the IUCN as endangered ("vulnerable"). In Asturias hunting is prohibited on him, and in Castilla y Leon few hundred animals may only be killed each year.


Individual evidence

  1. The Castroviejo Rabbit on the IUCN Red List
  2. Liebres de España: Spaniens Hasen ,, accessed on December 25, 2017


  • S. Aulagnier, P. Haffner, AJ Mitchell-Jones, F. Moutou, J. Zima: The mammals of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East - The destination guide. Haupt Verlag; Bern, Stuttgart, Vienna, 2009: pp. 160–161. ISBN 978-3-258-07506-8
  • AJ Mitchell-Jones, G. Amori, W. Bogdanowicz, B. Krystufek, PJH Reijnders, F. Spitzenberger, M. Stubbe, JBM Thissen, V. Vohralik, J. Zima: The Atlas of European Mammals. Poyser, London, 1999: pp. 162-163. ISBN 0-85661-130-1

Web links

Commons : Lepus castroviejoi  - collection of images, videos and audio files