Ausgewählte Texte aus der Carakasaṃhitā

Anhang B: Tierbeschreibungen


zusammengestellt von Alois Payer

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Carakasaṃhitā: Ausgewählte Texte aus der Carakasaṃhitā / übersetzt und erläutert von Alois Payer <1944 - >. -- Anhang B: Tierbeschreibungen. -- Leporidae.  -- Fassung vom 2010-12-11. -- URL:         

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Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung SS 2007

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"There are a large number of species of hares inhabiting; Central Asia, India, and the regions to the eastward. Of these the Indian black-naped hare (L. nigricollis) is distinguished by the presence of a black patch on the back of the neck, which is wanting in the common Indian hare (L. ruficaudatus). Both these species appear to be much less prolific than the European species ; and when pursued generally take refuge in holes.

Of the Tibetan species, the Afghan hare (L. tibetanus), which is found as low as five hundred feet above the sea, is distinguished by the black upper surface of the tail ; while in the woolly hare (L. oiostolus) and upland hare (L. hypsibius) both surfaces of the tail are nearly or quite white. The latter species does not occur below fourteen thousand or fifteen thousand feet ; and I have found it in swarms among eleagnus bush in the higher valleys of the Ladak.

The most remarkable of the Indian species is, however, the hispid hare (L. hispidus), inhabiting the foot of the Eastern Himalaya. In this hare the ears are shorter than the skull, the eyes small, the ears coarse and bristly, the tail dark both above and below, and the hind-legs scarcely longer than the front pair. Although not gregarious, this species is said to burrow like a rabbit ; and probably, therefore, produces blind and naked young. Its flesh is reported to be white. An allied species (L. nitscheri) inhabits Sumatra."

[Quelle: Lydekker, Richard <1849-1915>: The royal natural history / edited by Richard Lydekker ; with preface by P.L. Sclate. -- London ; New York : F. Warne, 1893-96. -- 6 Bde. : ill. (some col.) ; 26 cm. -- Bd. 3. -- S. 196f. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-09-27]



Hares and rabbits compose this family. The ears are long, usually about the same length as the skull or longer, and there is a short tail. The limbs are long, the hind limbs in general conspicuously longer than the fore. The eyes are large and there are no eyelids. The skull is compressed; the frontals are broad between the orbits and furnished with peculiarly shaped postorbital processes, narrow where joined to the frontals, then expanded and forming the upper rim of the orbit. The clavicles are imperfect.

Dentition: i. 4/2, pm. 3-3/2-2, m. 3-3/3-3.

Toes 5-4.

Vertebrae : C. 7, D. 12, L. 7, S. 4, C. 13-15.

Fig. 147. Skull of Lepus nigricollis

But a single genus is usually recognized in this family. Hares are found in all geographical regions except the Australian.

Genus LEPUS, L. (1766).

Syn. Caprolagus, Blyth (1845).

Characters of the family. Hares are well known and scarcely require description. There are several Indian species, some found in tropical parts of the country, others confined to the Himalayas.

As a rule two different species do not inhabit the same area, but L. ruficaudatus and L. hispidus may form an exception, as both apparently occur in Eastern Bengal and Assam.

Hares have much resemblance to each other in habits ; as a rule they dwell in grass, or amongst bushes or rocks, each living solitarily in a particular spot, known as its form ; usually a mere seat in the grass, or beside a bush or stone. To this form the animal returns, sometimes daily, for a considerable period, changing, however, with the season of year. Hares move about and feed in the morning and evening and at night, living entirely on grass and other plants. They are swift of foot, and owing to the length of their hind legs can ascend a slope at great speed. True hares do not burrow. They breed several times in the year; the period of gestation is about a month, and the young are born with their eyes open and are able to reproduce at the age of about 6 months.

In the European hare the young of the same litter are said to be sometimes dropped at considerable intervals. Rabbits differ from hares considerably ; they dwell in burrows, and the young are born naked and with the eyes closed. The curious hispid hare also burrows.

Synopsis of Indian, Ceylonese, and Burmese species.

  1. Ears as long as the head or longer, tail white beneath.
    1. a. A black patch on the back of the neck L. nigricollis, p. 449.

    2. b. No black patch.
      1. Upper surface of tail rufous-brown ; fur harsh L. ruficaudatus, p. 450.

      2. Upper surface of tail blackish brown ; fur soft L. dayanus, p. 451.

      3. Upper surface of tail black.
        1. General colour distinctly rufous L. peguensis, p. 451.

        2.  General colour not rufous L. tibetanus, p. 452.

      4. Tail wholly or almost wholly white.
        1. Ear longer than hind foot with tarsus L. oiostolus, p. 452.

        2. Ear not longer than hind foot with tarsus L. hypsibius, p. 453.

  2. Ears shorter than head, tail brown throughout ; fur bristly L. hispidus, p. 454.

Lepus nigricollis. The black-naped Hare.

Lepus nigricollis, F. Cuv. Diet. Sc. Nat. xxvi, p. 307 (1823) ; Elliot, Mad. Jour. L. S. x, p. 218 ; Kelaart, Prod. F. Z. p. 72 ; Blyth, Cat. p. 132 ; Jerdon, Mam. p. 225.

Khargosh, H. ; Sassa, Mahr. ; Malla, Can. ; Musal, Tam. ; Kundeli, Chourapilli, Tel. ; Moilu, MaL. ; Hava, Cing.

Ears thinly clad. Fur somewhat harsh and coarse.

Colour above rufescent brown and black mixed, except a large black or brownish-black patch on the back of the neck, extending from the ears to the shoulders. Tail rufous-brown above, blackish towards the end. Fore neck, breast, and limbs rufous ; chin, throat, and lower parts from fore limbs white, the dorsal and ventral tints passing gradually into each other on the flanks. Ears outside brown anteriorly, grey posteriorly, dusky towards the tip, narrowly margined with whitish inside. Dorsal fur ash-grey or creamy white at the base, then black, then rufous or rufescent white, the extreme tips black. Animals from the Nilgiri hills and Ceylon are more richly coloured than those from the plains, but one Nilgiri skin, sent to me by Mr. Hampson, is blackish brown above and not rufous.

Dimensions. Head and body 19 inches, ears 4.75, tail (without hair ?) 2.5 ; a skull measures 2.9 in basal length and 1.65 in breadth across the zygomatic arches. Nilgiri hares weigh 5 to 8 lbs., but in the plains the weight is less, Col. Hamilton (Hawkeye) says 5 to 7.

Distribution. The Indian Peninsula, south of the Godavari, and Ceylon. This hare ascends hills and is found commonly on the Nilgiris and at Newera Ellia.

Habits. Nothing particular appears to have been recorded. Like L. ruficaudatus, this hare takes refuge in holes (on the Nilgiris, in hollow trees) when pursued, and like that species appears to have fewer young at a birth than the European hare. Mr. Davison tells me he has generally found one but not unfrequently two. On the Nilgiris this hare breeds chiefly from October to February.

Lepus ruficaudatus. The common Indian Hare.

Lepus ruficaudatus, Geoff. Did. class, tfhist. not. ix, p. 381 (1826) ; Slyth, J. A. S. B. xi, p. 100 ; Cat. p. 131 ; Jerdon, Mam. p. 224.
Lepus timidus, McClelland, P. Z. S. 1839, p. 152, nec Linn.
Lepus macrotus, Hodgson, J. A. S. B. ix, p. 1183 (1840) ; Adams, P. Z. S. 1858, p. 520 ; Wagner, Hügel's Kaschmir, iv, p. 574, pl.
Lepus aryabertensis, Hodgson, Calc. Jour. N. H. iv, p. 293.
Lepus tytleri, Tytler, A. M. N. H. (2) xiv. p. 176 (1854) ; Blyth, J. A. S. B. xxii, p. 415, xxiv, p. 471.

Khargosh, P. & Hindustani ; Kharā, Susra or Sassa, H. & B. ; Lambha or Lambhāna, H. ; Malol, Gond. ; Kulhai, Kol, Santal; Koarli, Korku; Manye, Paharia of Rajmehal.

Ears very thinly clad. Fur somewhat harsh and coarse ; three pairs of mammae, 1 pectoral, 2 inguinal.

Colour above light rufous-brown mixed with black on the back and face ; breast and limbs rufous ; chin, upper throat, and lower parts from between the fore legs white. Fur of back creamy white (sometimes very pale ashy grey) at the base, then for a short distance dark brown to ashy brown, then pale rufous, and the extreme tips black. Tail above rufous-brown. Anterior outer and posterior inner surface of ears more thickly clad than the remainder of the ear-conch, dark brown mixed with rufescent. Near their tips the ears are narrowly bordered with black outside and with rufous inside.

Dimensions. Head and body 18 to 20 inches, tail with hair 4, ear from crown 5, breadth laid flat 2.75, hind foot and tarsus from heel to end of claws 4 basal length of skull 2.9, zygomatic breadth 1.55 ; weight 4 to 5 lbs. Males are smaller than females.

Distribution. Northern India generally, except in Western Rajputana, Sind, and the South-west Punjab. This species ranges from the foot of the Himalayas to the Godavari or somewhat further south, being found, I believe, around Poona in the Deccan. To the eastward L. ruficaudatus occurs in Assam, to the north-west I have a specimen from Hazara.

Habits. This hare is chiefly found in waste ground or dry cultivation, amongst grass and bushes. It is common in many parts of Northern India, is often shot and occasionally coursed with greyhounds.

When pursued it not unfrequently takes refuge in a fox's hole or some other burrow. In more than one instance, I have found a single foetus in the female ; Hodgson, however, found two and states that this is the number of young generally produced at a birth.

The flesh is not so good as that of the European hare, though much of the usual inferiority is probably due to cookery. When jugged this hare is by no means unpalatable.

Lepus dayanus. The Sind Hare.

Lepus dayanus, Stanford, P. Z. S. 1874, p. 663.
Lepus joongshaiensis, Murray, Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 61.

Sassa, Saho, Seher, Sindhi.

Ears thinly clad. Fur very soft. In the skull the nasals are shorter and much less bent over anteriorly at the sides than in L. ruficaudatus.

Colour above light greyish brown mixed with black ; breast and limbs pale rufescent, lower parts except the breast white. Dorsal fur at base light grey to creamy white, paler posteriorly, beyond the middle of each hair is a black ring, then a whitish space, the tip being black. Tail blackish brown above. Face-stripes whitish ; around eyes white. Margin of ear near the tip blackish brown outside, buff inside.

Dimensions. Head and body 17 inches, tail with hair 4, without hair 2.75, ear from crown 4.5, hind foot and tarsus 4 ; basal length of skull 2.75, zygomatic breadth 1.6.

Distribution. Sind and Cutch, with the greater part of the Indian desert east of the Indus, probably also the Derajāt in the Punjab.

Habits. Similar to those of L. ruficaudatus. This is, however, more of a desert form. It is much greyer than L. ruficaudatus and at once distinguished by its soft fur, and by the upper surface of the tail being blackish brown instead of rufous.

Lepus peguensis. The Burmese Hare.


Lepus tibetanus. The Afghan Hare.

Lepus craspedotis, Blanf. Eastern Persia, ii, p. 80, pi. viii.
Lepus biddulphi, Blanf. J. A. S. B. xlvi, pt. 2, p. 324.

Ears broad. Fur soft.

Colour above varying from light greyish to light rufescent brown mixed with black, the rump sometimes with an ashy tinge ; lower parts white, except the breast which is light brown. Tail with a broad black band above. Dorsal fur ashy at the base, varying in depth of tint, passing into whitish, then black or dark brown followed by a very pale brown ring and the extreme tip black. Often, in winter fur, longer fine black-tipped hairs are intermixed on the back. Outside of the ears brown in front, behind buff, passing into black at the tip. In most specimens the ear-conch is margined with buff.

Dimensions. Head and body 19 inches, tail 3.5 (with hair 5), ear 5, breadth of do. 3, hind foot and tarsus 4.8. Weight 3½ lbs. The skull is 2.70 inches in basal length and 1.7 in zygomatic breadth.

Distribution. The upper Indus valley (Little Tibet), the greater part of Afghanistan, and Baluchistan. This hare is found as low as 500 feet above the sea in the latter (L. craspedotis). I have shot it on the Khirthar range west of Sind and near Quetta.

Lepus oiostolus. The woolly Hare.

Lepus oiostolus, Hodgson, J. A. S. B. ix, p. 1186 (1840), xi, p. 288.
Lepus pallipes, Hodgson, J. A. 8. B. xi, p. 288, pi. (1842), Blanford, Yark. Miss., Mam. p. 62.
? Lepus tibetanus, Blanf. J. A. 8. B. xli, pt. 2, p. 34, nec Waterhouse

Rigong, Tibetan.

Ears densely clad outside and exceeding the head in length. Fur soft, thick, woolly, slightly curled in adults, more so in the young. Postorbital processes in the skull large, broad, and bent upwards, so that the frontal area between the orbits is broad and concave.

Colour above light yellowish brown mixed with dark brown, rump ashy grey. Tail almost entirely white, a few ashy hairs above near the base. Some of the fur on the back of the neck is tipped with ashy. Foreneck and breast pale rufescent, chin and abdomen white. Dorsal fur ashy at the base on the shoulders, white in the middle of the back, then dark brown or black followed by light brown, the tips of the longer hairs black. Ears externally dark brown in front, white behind, passing into ashy towards the base and black close to the tip, the border of the ear buffy white almost throughout ; inside of ear-conch with short brown hair near posterior margin, except near the tip, where the hair is white. Eye-stripe whitish, whiskers mixed black and white. The young is pale brownish or slaty grey above.

Dimensions. Head and body 22 inches, ear 4.75, hind foot and tarsus 4.5, tail without terminal hair 4, with it 6 ; zygomatic breadth of skull 1.5.

Distribution. Tibet north of Nepal and Sikhim and probably farther east at high elevations. L. oiostolus occurs also in some of the high valleys south of the main range ; I have seen it in Sikhim near the Kongra Lama pass.

This species is closely allied to L. variabilis, of which it and L. hypsibius may perhaps ultimately both prove to be varieties.

Lepus hypsibius. The upland Hare.

? Lepus oiostolus, Adams, P. Z. 8. 1858, p. 520, nec Hodgson.
Lepus pallipes, Blyth, Cat. p. 131, nec Hodgson.
Lepus hypsibius, Blanford, J. A. S. B. xliv, pt. 2, p. 214 (1875) ; id. Yark. Miss., Mam., p. 60, pi. iii, fig. 1, pi. iv a, fig. 1.

Fur long, woolly, curly, and very thick, the hairs of the rump nearly 2 inches long in winter. Ears scarcely exceeding the head in length. Postorbital processes of skull large and bent upwards.

Colour above rufous-brown, mixed with black on the back, rump dark ashy. Tail entirely white. Lower parts white, except the breast which is rufescent. Fur ashy at the base on the shoulders, creamy white in the middle of the back, then there is a blackish ring followed by a longer pale brown one, the extreme tip black. Hair of rump ashy grey throughout, some piles black-tipped. Outer surface of ears brown in front, whitish behind, with the extreme tip black.

Dimensions from dried skins. Head and body 24 inches, ear 4.5, hind foot and tarsus 5 basal length of skull 2.8, zygomatic breadth 1.73.

Distribution. The higher plains of Ladak such as Changchemno, and also of Rukshu. Not known to occur below 14,000 or 15,000 feet elevation.

This may be a variety of the last, but appears to be considerably larger with shorter ears.

Lepus hispidus. The hispid Hare.

Lepus hispidus, Pearson, McClelland, P. Z. S. 1839, p. 152; Hodgson, J. A. S. B. xvi, p. 572, pi. xiv ; Blyth, Cat. p. 133 ; id. J. A. S. xxii, p. 415 ; Jerdon, Mam. p, 226.
Caprolagus hispidus, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xiv. p. 249, plates.

Ears very short, shorter than the skull. Eyes small. Fur coarse, bristly; underfur fine with the coarse longer hairs intermixed. Hind legs short, but little exceeding the fore legs in length. Claws strong. Mammae 6. Skull very thick, flat above ; frontals longer and nasals shorter than in other hares. Postorbital processes small, united to the frontals anteriorly ; incisive foramina small ; bony palate as long as broad. Teeth large.

Colour above black mixed with brownish white, producing a general dark brown aspect, and passing on the sides gradually intothe sullied brownish white of the lower parts. The rump is more rufescent in some skies. Tail brown throughout, darker above. Basal half of dorsal fur greyish brown ; terminal portion at first dark brown or black, then yellowish white followed by a long black tip sometimes interrupted by a second pale ring. Ears brown outside throughout. Breast a little darker brown than the abdomen.

Dimensions. Head and body 19 inches, tail 1.1, with hair 2.1, ear 2.75, hind foot and tarsus 3.9 ; basal length of skull 3, zygomatic breadth 1.75. Weight 5½ lbs.

Distribution. The tract along the foot of the Himalayas from Gorakhpur to Upper Assam. The hispid hare does not range into the mountains, but is said to be found as far south as the Rajmehal hills, Dacca, and, according to Hodgson, Tipperah.

Habits very imperfectly ascertained. According to Hodgson the hispid hare inhabits the Sal forest, whilst Jerdon states with more probability that it is found in the Terai (that is, of course, the marshy tract usually thus called), frequenting long grass, bamboos, &c. It is said to burrow like a rabbit, but not to be gregarious. Its food, as Hodgson was informed by the Mechis, consists chiefly of roots and the bark of trees. The flesh is said to be white.

This hare should perhaps be placed in a distinct genus Caprolagus as proposed by Blyth. An allied form, with black markings, L. nitscheri, has recently been described from Sumatra."

[Quelle: Blanford, W. T. <1832 – 1905>: Mammalia. -- 1888 - 1891. -- (Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma). -- S. 447 - 454. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-09-06]


"Common Indian hares, Lepus ruficaudatus, are often very troublesome in suburban gardens. They abound in the Botanic Garden to an extent that renders it necessary that the beds in the flower garden should be carefully protected by surrounding fences of wire-netting. One morning whilst the superintendent of the Garden was overhauling the nursery, and enforcing the need of a general clearance of the miscellaneous stores of rubbish that are so sure to accumulate in native hands, he came across a heap of dilapidated wire-netting. "Have this thrown away at once, babu," said he to the official in charge. "But, sir, it is to protect the plants in the flower-garden from the insects," was the immediate reply. This statement was at first sight somewhat startling, but was accounted for by the fact that the man, like Punch's railway porter, used the word "insect" as a generic term applicable to any animal of unknown name and nature."

[Quelle: Cunningham, D. D. (David Douglas) <1843-1914>: Some Indian friends and acquaintances; a study of the ways of birds and other animals frequenting Indian streets and gardens. --  London : J. Murray, 1903. -- viii, 423 S. : Ill. ; 21 cm. -- S. 314. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-09-15]