Animals

Hares

by Marcia Malory

Hares and rabbits comprise the family Leporidae.

Hares tend to be larger than rabbits, with longer ears and longer hind legs.

They can run faster than rabbits.

Some hares may be able to reach speeds of 45 miles per hour.

While rabbits are social, hares are often solitary animals.

European hare, photo by Ansgar WalkHares live in nests above the ground, while rabbits live in underground burrows.

Hares are precocial - newborns are mobile at birth.

Rabbits, on the other hand, are altricial. This means that newborns cannot move by themselves.

A hare that is less than a year old is known as a leveret.

European Hare

The European Hare, also known as the brown hare, is native to temperate areas in Europe and western Asia.

It has also been introduced to Australia, New Zealand and the Americas.

It eats grasses and herbs in the summer and buds, bark and twigs in winter. It sometimes damages fruit trees.

The European hare spends most of the day in a form, a hollowed out depression in the grass.

It comes out to feed at sunset.

The European hare is usually solitary but sometimes feeds in groups.

During mating season in the spring, European hairs can be seen standing on their hind legs and boxing with one another (the origin of the phrase mad as a March hare). Female hares box male hares, fending off males that are too enthusiastic for their tastes.