In Leviticus 11:6, a hare is referred to as a "chewer of the cud." What evidence is there on this matter?

It is not necessary, strictly speaking, that the evidence be on chewing cud in the same sense as ruminants. From my research, hares are not ruminants and do not possess the proper physiology. However, I am interested in any references or pieces of evidence for behavior that could be perceived as chewing cud.

  • As you know, we can only address claims which are notable. Can you provide examples of people actually believing this?
    – Sklivvz
    Sep 25, 2012 at 7:25
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    @Sklivvz: Here's a reference for notability, but it contains substantial parts of the answer in it, making it less suitable. creation.com/do-rabbits-chew-their-cud
    – Oddthinking
    Sep 25, 2012 at 7:29
  • Rabbits chew. They chew a lot. They will chew pretty much anything you put in front of them. But they prefer grass and twigs.
    – Chad
    Sep 25, 2012 at 13:37
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    @Oddthinking - Camel sized rabbits... now that would be an interesting breed :)
    – Chad
    Sep 26, 2012 at 15:05
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    @Chad: They existed... well for small values of camel-sized.
    – Oddthinking
    Sep 26, 2012 at 15:18

1 Answer 1


As long as you are willing for the definition of "chewing cud" to be very broad, then caecotrophy may count.

Rabbit/hares excrete special pellets from the anus (different to regular faeces), which are reswallowed and redigested.

Night feces (cecotropes) from this cecal fermented material are packaged in mucin and pass through the colon to the anus. These cecotropes are ingested by the rabbit and swallowed intact where they contribute substantially to the protein, mineral and vitamin nutriture of the animal.

  • Harrison Pet - not a particularly strong reference, but I don't think the science is in doubt here.

In the sense that the food is passed through the mouth twice for further digestion, it has some similarities to chewing the cud.

  • I'd suggest thst the willingness of OP to accept the broad definition is less critical than that of the translators of Leviticus. But since they're dead, is thrre evidence or logic to suggest they might've meant something more than pure ruminence? (or for that matter that we have "hares" exactly right in translation.)
    – kojiro
    Sep 25, 2012 at 11:33
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    @kojiro: While this and this make the claim, I think this is off-topic. Interpretation of the bible belongs in Hermeneutics.SE, not Skeptics.SE.
    – Oddthinking
    Sep 25, 2012 at 13:21

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