Coprophagy in the Japanese hare (Lepus brachyurus): reingestion of all the hard and soft faeces during the daytime stay in the form

Authors


Abstract

The daily rhythms of formation and reingestion of hard and soft faeces were studied in Lepus brachyurus. Although the Leporidac have long been known to reingest soft faeces, the Japanese hare also reingests a substantial amount of hard faeces. All the faeces excreted during the daytime stay in a form, comprising first hard faeces, then soft faeces and again hard faeces, were reingested. Hares repeatedly sit straight up from the squatting position to practise reingestion. A reingestion bout for hard faeces consists of repeated faeces-taking actions each followed by mastication, whereas that for soft faeces includes only one faeces-taking action without mastication. If deprived of food during foraging at night, the Japanese hare reingested most of the faeces that were normally discarded. Evidence in literature indicates that other Leporidae also practise reingestion of hard faeces.

Ancillary