01.04.17

Hare Facts

Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares are classified into the same family as rabbits. They are similar in size and form to rabbits and eat the same diet. They are generally herbivorous and long-eared, they are fast runners, and they typically live solitarily or in pairs. Hare species are native to Africa, Eurasia, North America, and the Japanese archipelago.

Five leporid species with "hare" in their common names are not considered true hares: the hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus), and four species known as red rock hares (comprising Pronolagus). Meanwhile, jackrabbits are hares rather than rabbits.

A hare less than one year old is called a leveret. The collective noun for a group of hares is a "drove".

Biology

Normally a shy animal, the European brown hare changes its behavior in spring, when hares can be seen in daytime chasing one another; this appears to be competition between males to attain dominance (and hence more access to breeding females). During this spring frenzy, hares can be seen "boxing", one hare striking another with its paws (probably the origin of the term "mad as a March hare"). For a long time, this had been thought to be only intermale competition, but closer observation has revealed it can also be a female hitting a male to prevent copulation.

Differences from Rabbits

Hares do not bear their young below ground in a burrow as do other leporids, but rather in a shallow depression or flattened nest of grass called a form. Young hares are adapted to the lack of physical protection, relative to that afforded by a burrow, by being born fully furred and with eyes open. They are hence precocial, and are able to fend for themselves soon after birth. By contrast, the related rabbits and cottontail rabbits are altricial, having young that are born blind and hairless.[6]

All rabbits (except the cottontail rabbits) live underground in burrows or warrens, while hares (and cottontail rabbits) live in simple nests above the ground, and usually do not live in groups. Hares are generally larger than rabbits, with longer ears, and have black markings on their fur. Hares have not been domesticated, while rabbits are raised for food and kept as house pets. The domestic pet known as the "Belgian Hare" is a rabbit that has been selectively bred to resemble a hare.[7]

Hares have jointed, or kinetic, skulls, unique among mammals. They have 48 chromosomes while rabbits have 44.

Source

Can you spot all the hares around the county of Norfolk in the summer of 2018?

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