Studies on the european hare. 52. food of irish hares lepus timidus hibernicus in western connemara, ireland
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Tangney, Denis; Fairley, James; O'Donnell, Ger (1995). Studies on the european hare. 52. food of irish hares lepus timidus hibernicus in western connemara, ireland. Acta Theriologica 40 (4), 403-413
The diet of the Irish hare Lepus timidus hibernicus Bell, 1837, was investigated in western Ireland by analysis of faeces collected each month for a year from 3 areas of blanket bog, 1 of rough grassland and 1 of machair. A wide range of plant species was eaten but the main foods throughout the year were grasses and sedges on bog, and grasses at the other 2 sites, with sedges a minor food. Forbs were also important on machair, the study area where they were most plentiful. Shrubs (mainly Calluna vulgaris but Thymus praecox on machair) were an ancillary food everywhere, especially in winter, when they provided an otherwise scarce source of live tissue. Because there was no snow cover, however, shrubs did not dominate forage in winter as they do in other parts of the range of L. timidus. Seasonal variation in the diet and apparent food preferences are discussed.