Hare

These hares face many dangers, and their senses are acute. They can run at speeds of up to 60 kph (35 mph), changing direction frequently to escape pursuing predators.

Hares do not live in burrows, but rest in hollows in the ground. Rather than risk having all her offspring killed by a predator, the female hare places them at different spots within an area. Called leverets, the young are born in an advanced state of development, covered in fur. The appetites of these hares are such that three are said to eat as much as a sheep, making them unpopular with farmers, especially as they can breed so fast.

Distribution: Occurs across Europe, including the British Isles, the Arabian Peninsula and into Asia. Introduced elsewhere including the USA, Canada, Argentina and Australia.

Weight: 3 - 5 kg (6.6 - 11 lb).

Length: 61 - 75 cm (24 - 30 in).

Maturity: 8 months.

Gestation Period: 30 - 40 days; breeds in late winter and mid-summer.

Breeding: 1 - 8, typically 4; weaning at 30 days; females may have 2 - 4 litters per year.

Diet: Herbivorous, eating grass, herbs and twigs; can be a crop pest.

Lifespan: Up to 10 years.

Ears

These are about 10 cm (4 in) long and have black tips.

Colouration

Colour can vary from yellowish-brown to greyish-brown, with the coat becoming greyer in winter.

Hare lip

This extends up from the base of the upper lip, and divides around the base of the nose.

The "mad march" hare

This saying comes from the way in which males run around wildly during the mating period, and may even fight.

Hares are always alert and they rely on speed to escape danger.

Greater Red Rockhare

Range: Africa: E. South Africa.

Habitat: Stony country with scattered vegetation, forest edge.

Size: Body: 16 1/2 - 19 3/4 in (42 - 50 cm). Tail: 2 1/4 - 5 1/2 in (6 - 14 cm).

The greater red rockhare lives alone in a small territory and is usually active at dusk and at night, feeding on grass and greenleaved plants. During the day, it rests in a shallow depression, or form, near cover of grass or rocks, and if alarmed, it darts into a rock crevice or hole. Like all hares, its hearing is acute and its sight and sense of smell are also good.

The female gives birth to 1 or 2 fully haired young after a gestation period of about a month.

Cape Hare

The Cape hare is found across areas of Africa that are not covered by forests. The species is also found in the Middle East and as far east as central Asia. The Cape hare survives in a range of habitats from damp, highland meadows and marshes to arid rock fields. There is even a population of Cape hares that lives in the Sahara Desert, cut off from the rest.

Cape hares not only look similar to Eurasian brown hares but also behave in a very similar way. The males box each other when competing for mates. They do this standing on their long hind limbs.

The hind limbs are used to propel the hare along at speeds of 77 kph (48 mph). The hares can also use them to make leaps of 2.5 m (8.25 ft).

Cape hares have red-brown fur and white hair on the inside leg. They are also known as brown hares by African people, although they should not be confused with the Eurasian brown hare.

Unlike rabbits, hares do not dig burrows; instead, they live in shallow dips called forms. (In the cold steppes of Mongolia, Cape hares actually make their homes underground - unique for hares. They take over the burrows of ground squirrels.)

Distribution: Africa and western and central Asia.

Habitat: Meadows, fields and marshes.

Food: Leaves, seeds, berries and mushrooms.

Size: 55 cm (21.75 in); 4.5 kg (10 lb).

Maturity: 8 months.

Breeding: Litters of 3 - 4 young born every 3 months.

Life span: 5 years.

Status: Common.

Alaskan Hare

Size: 50 - 70 cm (19.5 - 27.5 in); 2 - 5 kg (4.5 - 11 lb).

Alaskan hares live in northern and western Alaska. Some reports also place them across the Bering Straits in eastern Siberia. This species is most often found on tundra and barren mountain slopes, and rarely in lowland areas. Alaskan hares produce just one litter each year. Although this is less than other hares, it is no mean feat in the harsh conditions of their sub-Arctic home. They mate in spring and up to eight young are born two months later. These hares are active at dawn and dusk. Their main foods are leaves, shoots, bark and roots, plus grasses in summer.

Hispid Hare

Range: Bangladesh, India, Nepal.

Habitat: Forest, grassy bamboo thickets.

Size: Body: about 18 1/2 in (47 cm) Tail: 1 in (2.5 cm).

Also known as the bristly or Assam rabbit, the hispid hare has an unusual coat of coarse, bristly fur; its ears are short and broad and its legs stout. It lives alone or in pairs and digs a burrow for shelter. Grass shoots, roots and bark are its main foods.

Gallery of Hare