Many people think that hares are rabbits, but they are not. Hares are a relative of the rabbit and while they share many traits, they also have many differences.
Interesting facts about hares:
Hares are a type of rodent and are part of the genus called ‘Lepus’.
Hares are larger than the average rabbit and they are fast and have long ears. They also have long hind legs, a furry coat as well as the shorter tail and an upper lip that is divided.
- Baby hares are born with their eyes open and completely furred, unlike baby rabbits.
- Hares give birth to their babies on the ground whereas rabbits have nests.
- Hares have a leaping motion to move as opposed to rabbits that hop.
Rabbits are social animals but hares are solitary, preferring to live in their area alone.
- Every continent around the globe has a population of hares, with the exception of Antarctica.
- A hare’s fur coat will change its color in winter.
- Hares, like other prey, have their eyes positioning on their head so that they can view each side. The main predators of the hare are wolves and owls.
In Europe, the hare is a fast runner as well as an excellent swimmer. They can achieve speeds up to thirty five mph.
- The average hare weighs from 2.5 to 6.5 kg, has a height of between 52 and 59.5 cm and has a lifespan of about twelve years.
- The favorite habitat of the hare is in meadows, fields and clearings. Classified as herbivores, they eat ferns, grass and crops.
- The hare is very shy and as a protection action will lay completely still if it is disturbed. They will lay down, with their ears flat to hide.
Hares have an excellent sense of smell as well as hearing. This is a requirement in the wild so that they can survive from the attacks of predators.
- A group of hares is called a Warren or Down.
- The names for hares are: males are called ‘bucks’ and females are referred to as ‘does’. Baby hares are called ‘leverets’.
- Hares typically return to their area to feed their babies before dawn and after dusk. When the babies are old enough the mother does not return. Baby hares will be ready to leave their area and will run off, each in a different direction.
A common myth is that if a human disturbs the area of a baby hare that the mother will not return. Mother hares will return, even if the baby hares have been touched or picked up.
Baby hares, like rabbits, need to have their mother lick them constantly to survive. This helps their circulation.