Rabbits and hares are mammals of the Lagomorpha, (Lagus, rabbit, morpha, form) order. Rabbits are typically smaller than hares.
Mexico is home to the largest variety of lagomorphs: nine rabbit species—eight pertaining to the Sylvilagus family and one to the Romerolagus family—plus five varieties of Lepus-family hares. Most are endemic to Mexico and live in burrows, hollow trees, pastures or milpa fields.
Three hare varieties are unique to Mexico. First there are tordas (Lepus callotis), that range from the Northern to the Southern Highlands (Chihuahua to Oaxaca), and are medium-sized animals, light gray to brown in color. The tropical hare (Lepus flavigularis) is similar to the torda and resides in the Southern Highlands (Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca). Finally, so-called black hares (Lepus insularis), of moderate size, live only in Baja California (Isla Espíritu Santo, Gulf of California).
Sylvilagus rabbits live only in the Western Hemisphere. The Castilian rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus) is Mexico’s most common wild rabbit. Additional varieties include the desert rabbit (Sylvilagus auduboni), tropical rabbit (Sylvilagus brasitensis) and matorralero rabbits (Sylvilagus bachmani); the Mexican wild rabbit (Sylvilagus cunicularius) is noted for its size.
Zacatuche or teporingo (Romerolagus Diaz) rabbits are considered primitive due to their bone structure. That said, some researchers relate them more closely to hares.
The teporingo is currently a protected species; hunting or eating it is illegal.
Rabbits and hares play an important role in ecosystems as food for other animals (coyotes, weasels, cacomiztles, hawks, eagles, owls and some snakes). In turn, they consume grasses, herbs, shrubs and tender tree parts at the same time they contribute to different plant species dispersal, ingesting seeds in one place and defecating them elsewhere. Nevertheless, they can become pests in cultivated fields.
They are also fit for human consumption. Rabbits and hares in fact are the most widely hunted such mammals. Rabbit and hare hunting dates to pre-Hispanic times; ancient names for the animals include tochtli (from the Nahuatl), t'ul (Maya) and jua (Otomí). Nowadays, rabbits and hares can be farmed for meat.
The Aztecs as well as the Maya associated rabbits and hares with the moon. The former used a rabbit glyph to designate the eighth day of the week, and the animals were also related to the southern compass point. The rabbit god Ometochtli was the deity who oversaw drunkenness and made as well as sold pulque.
Mexicans eat rabbit and hare meat grilled or roasted; marinate it in various adobos and sauces, and cook them in pits or gas ovens. The meat, divided into cuts and cooked, can be added to stews, moles, pepianes and all manner of salsas; raw cuts, dressed in salsa and other ingredients, then wrapped in maguey or banana leaves, are subsequently cooked in pits or gas ovens.


Rabbit ximbó