Hare It is the common name for leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. They are in the same family as rabbits (Leporidae).

Close-up of a hare. Photo: Wikipedia.org
Close-up of a hare. Photo: Wikipedia.org

Species

There are more than 30 different species of hares.

Gender: Lepus

  • Subgenre: Macrotolagus
    • Antelope hare (The rabbit alleni)
  • Subgenre: Poecilolagus
    • American hare (American rabbit)
  • Subgenre: Lepus
    • Arctic hare (Lepus arcticus)
    • L. of Alaska (The rabbit othus)
    • Mountain L. (Lepus timidus)
  • Subgenre: Proeulagus
    • California hare (Lepus californicus)
    • L. torda (Lepus callotis)
    • L. from El Cabo (Lepus capensis)
    • L. de Tehuantepec ( Lepus flavigularis)
    • L. negra (The rabbit insularts)
    • L. of the bushes (Lepus saxatilis)
    • L. of the desert (The rabbit nikolskii)
    • L. de Tolai (Lepus tolai)
  • Subgenre: Eulagos
    • Broom hare (Lepus castroviejoi)
    • L. de Yunnan (The rabbit Comus)
    • L. of Korea (The rabbit coreanus)
    • L. corsa (Lepus corsicanus)
    • European L. (Lepus europaeus)
    • L. ibérica​ (The rabbit granatensls)
    • L. de manchuria (Lepus mandschuricus)
    • L. lanuda (The rabbit oiostolus)
    • L. from the Ethiopian highlands (Lepus starcki)
    • L. of white tail (Lepus townsendii)
  • Subgenre: Sabanalagus
    • Ethiopian hare (Lepus fagani)
    • L. of white tail (Lepus microtis)
  • Subgenre: Indolagus
    • Hainan Hare (The rabbit hainanus)
    • L. india (Lepus nigricollis)
    • L. birm (The rabbit peguensis)
  • Subgenre: Sinolagus
    • L. china (Lepus sinensis)
  • Subgenre: Tarimolagus
    • L. de Yarkand (Lepus yarkandensis)
  • Undefined gender
    • Japanese hare (Lepus brachyurus)
    • L. abisinia (The rabbit habessinica)

Among so many species, it is often confused which species is a hare and a rabbit, they are usually misapplied in specific species. In North America, rabbits are actually hares, while the hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus) from Nepal and India is a rabbit, and the whistling hare is another name for pikes (Ochotona). Both pikes, rabbits and hares are part of the Lagomorpha mammals.

Features

The hare varies in size according to the species, but the average is between 40 - 70 cm in length, with feet up to 15 cm long and ears up to 20 cm.

They have long ears, which serve to dissipate excess heat. Smell is very precise and allows it to detract from any approaching predator before it has detected the hare. In case of danger, it will jump quickly to escape to safety.

The predominant color is grayish brown, some species may turn white in winter and in the extreme north, the american hare (American rabbit)

It is the fastest mammal among the small ones reaching speeds of 70 km / h. This is possible thanks to the strong hind legs combined with its large feet. He is also capable of jumping great distances with ease.

Differences with the rabbit

The hare is much larger than the rabbit. The ears and hind legs are longer, although the tail is relatively shorter, it is longer than that of rabbits.

Behavior

The hare is a calm and docile animal. They spend most of their time foraging for food and resting.

In the case of the European hare, it changes its behavior in spring where it can be seen during the day chasing other hares. This appears to be a competition between males for a female. During this stage, both genders can be seen kicking each other with their hind legs. It is present not only in the competition between males, but also between females towards males to avoid copulation.

Jumping hare
Jumping hare

Habitat

The hare inhabits near farmland, open forests, desert regions, and in the cold Arctic tundra.

Distribution

The hare is most commonly found in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The best known species is the European liebre (L. europaeus) from central and southern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia west to Siberia. The mountain hare (L. timing) from Asia, the arctic hare (L. arcticus) and the American hare live in the far north. Various species of hare (including L. californicus y L. coach) are found in the vast deserts of North America.

Food

The hare is a herbivorous animal that feeds on plant matter, with grass being its favorite. But they also feed on seeds, vegetables and fruits to fill them up.

Predators

The hare has some natural predators, although due to its small size and speed it is not the first choice. They include large birds of prey, wild dogs, and humans, who hunt them for food or to control pests.

Reproduction

Most Lepus species have very high reproduction rates, with multiple large litters being produced each year.

They give birth to their young in nests created in the ground, rather than burrows underground. This characteristic forces them to lead a life of self-protection by not having the security of an underground burrow.

The young are born with their eyes open and completely hairy, being able to jump after a few minutes of life. At a very young age they are able to take care of themselves.

State of conservation

The hare is not in danger due to its high reproduction rate, but this characteristic is also its prediction since they quickly become pests that deteriorate the habitat where they are, becoming pests.

Some species are in danger like the Tehuantepec hare (L. flavigularis) from southern Mexico, the broom hare (L. castroviejoi) of northern Spain, and the Hainan hare (L. hainanus), who lives on Hainan Island, off the coast of southern China.

Relationship with humans

Many species are abundant throughout its range, such as the European hare, which has been introduced in many places, such as: South America, New Zealand and Australia, where it has become a pest.

It is part of the food of many cultures around the world. The best part of the hare, when it is roasted, is the loin and the thick part of the leg; the other parts are only suitable for stewing, mashing or shaking. It is customary to roast a hare first, and cook or pot the portion that is not eaten on the first day.

Popular culture

The hare is present in the folklore and stories of many different cultures around the world. They appear as symbolic signs, whose definitions differ according to the type of cultures.

It makes its appearance in English folklore with the saying "as mad as a March hare" (as crazy as a March hare). In the legend of the White Hare it tells of a witch who transforms into a free white woman and goes out in search of prey at night or the spirit of a broken-hearted maiden who is unable to rest and who stalks her unfaithful lover.

Various cultures, such as Chinese, Japanese and Mexican, see in the hare a pattern of dark spots on the moon. It also appears as a constellation called Lepus.

In the European tradition, it symbolizes the two qualities of speed and shyness, which in its day gave the European hare the name Lepus timidus, which is now limited to the mountain hare.

List of other interesting animals