order includes rabbits and hares (Leploridae) and pikas (Ochotonidae).
Rabbits and hares have tails that are very short and hind feet
that are at least somewhat larger than the forefeet, the external
ears are very long. Pikas are smaller than most leplorids, the
hind feet are only slightly larger than the forefeet the ears
are relatively short and rounder, and the tail is absent externally.
Lagomorph means literally "hare-shaped". Lagomorphs
are terrestrial mammals although some species burrow and may
be considered semifossorial. Members of the living families
have tails that are very short, and hind feet that are at least
somewhat larger than the forefeet. Lagomorphs are almost totally
herbivorous and feed on a wide variety of forbs, grasses, and
to some extent, shrubs. Reingestion of feces is know to occur
in most species and enables them to assimilate more plant nutrients
and certain B vitamins that are produced by bacteria in the
caecum. The social structure in lagomorphs ranges from a dispersed
system in may hares to that of dominance hierarchies in the
European rabbit. Pikas may establish territories based o;n the
defense of accumulated hay piles, although these territories
are not generally defended during the reproductive season. Lagomorphs
are native to the Holarctic, Ethiopian (except Madagascar),
northern Neotropical and northern and western Oriental regions.