The Tarep (plural Tarepi) is categorized in the rabbit family and is known for its small, rounded body, often considered the “cutest” of the rabbit family. They can be found in both the wild and in captivity. Like most rabbits, it “walks” with its front feet and hops with its hind feet unless it needs to move extremely fast to avoid being a snack to predators.
Tarepi have a very soft,
brownish or grayish coat. Often times the Tarep will have a lighter color fur
such as off-white on the belly and feet. The Tarep’s fur helps it camouflage
itself in the plains or prairies in which it lives. Sometimes the fur it specked
with black or light browns to help it blend in better with its environment.
The Tarep is about 2 to 4 palmspan in length and between half a hafeb to a full hafeb in weight. The ears can be as long as a palmspan in height. These ears are highly sensitive and help the Tarep detect predators. The Tarep’s ears can move either together or one at a time to hear faint sounds from any direction. This rabbit’s great sense of smell also allows it to locate the whereabouts of predators. Because its eyes are located on the side of its head, it can only see things to its side and to the front, it depends on its ears and nose to help it detect predators coming from ahead.
The Tarep’s paws are equipped with small claws. These claws help it dig burrows where it lives and gives birth to its young. Tarepi also have sharp incisors for gnawing through wood and other materials.
Though the Tarep does do a lot of hopping, it can’t usually hop more than 2
fores, just enough to get a quick leap ahead of its predators. However, once the
Tarep starts off, it’s extremely difficult to catch. An extremely fast little
creature, this rabbit can move more than 5 leagues per hour! They will only move
this fast if they feel threatened. If attacked by a predator, Tarepi will often
run zigzag to throw their pursuer off. The Tarep also has a well-developed sense
of hearing, due in part to his long ears, as well as a wonderful sense of smell.
Territory. The Tarep adapts well to almost any environment and can be found scattered in various places between the Eight Winds Bay to Sharadon Forest, though they are usually found in plains and prairies such as the Aurora Plains, the Heath of Jernais, Heath of Cijur, the Tolonian Heath and the Wilshirer Heath. However, they can be found in various forests as well.
Many Tarepi can be found in the fertile Nekoma Valley and the Farmlands of Twynor, near Marcogg. Both the rich grasses and the cultivated vegetables attract the small beasts, and in fact they are so prolific in the area that children are encouraged to hunt them. Many a Sarvonian boy has proudly brought a Tarep home as his first catch; the meat goes in the pot and the fur will trim his sister's or mother's winter gloves.
Habitat/Behaviour. The Tarep is a very skittish animal, being extremely timid and easily scared away. If faced by danger, Tarepi will stay absolutely still and hope the danger goes away. If it gets too close, they will bolt away. Tarepi can be found mainly on grassy plains, heaths, and prairies, though they also sometimes live in forests. They build burrows underground that’s opening they will cover with grasses and leaves to hide it. If they find a burrow that has been abandoned by another animal, they will happily move in. The tend to live individually, but rather close together. A group of Tarepi is called a cuddle.
Diet. The Tarep eats many kinds of plants including grasses such as the alth’ho grass and wean grass, as well as weeds like the yrom. It also eats twigs, bark, and the fruit of bushes and trees. Farmers tend to dislike the Tarep because it can destroy their crops. They can also damage fruit trees and bushes by eating the tender sprout.
Mating. Female Tarepi go into heat around the middle of the fourth month of the year, the Month of the Changing Winds, and right from the get go will mate with any male. She will carry her young inside her for about a month before getting birth to them. The number of babies can vary between 2 and 9, but tend to be about 4 or 5. Baby Tarepi, called kits, are born deaf, blind, and hairless. The mother keeps them in a nest underground made from grasses and hair that she may pull from her own chest to keep the bald little kits warm. After about 10 weeks the baby Tarepi can see, hear, and have hair. After 2 weeks they will leave the nest and make their own burrows around the nest.
The female will immediately go into heat again and go through this same process as many times as she can before she goes out of heat near the end of summer. By this time she may have raised as 4 litters of kits. Tarepi reproduce as quickly and as often as possible as they have many enemies and many die before reaching their first year.
Usages. The Tarepi’s meat is eaten in many cultures, both by nobility and civilians. Because of their small size, they’re usually served one per person. The meat tends to taste about the same as a deer’s. Many times nobility as well as regular civilians will keep these creatures in cages outside where they can easily be killed when a Tarep dish is wanted. These furry little critters are not only wanted for their meat, though. The soft fur of this rabbit is used to trim clothing or to line the inside to help keep the wearer warm.
Information provided by Rayne Avalotus