General Description

Hares look superficially similar to rabbits, but are larger and their hind legs and ears are longer relative to their bodies. Body fur mottled black and brown with brown-grey on the cheeks, shoulders, sides and rump. Long black-tipped ears that extend beyond the nose if held forward. Tail white with a black stripe (visible when hopping). Sits upright. Body up to 65 cm long.


Hares eat grass, fleshy plant roots (tubers) and bark from shrubs and small trees. They are considered a minor agricultural pest. They are usually solitary except when breeding. When threatened, they freeze, often pressing themselves to the ground. When the threat gets close, they will break cover and run away rapidly, often bounding sideways and doubling back to confuse the predator. Unlike rabbits, hares do not live in underground warrens, but rest in shallow depressions in the ground known as "forms". There is some debate about whether the Brown Hare (Lepus capensis) and the European Hare (Lepus europaeus) are the same species. If so, the name Lepus capensis would take priority as it was published first. Hares were deliberately introduced to Australia multiple times from the 1830s for sport.


Europe, South American, New Zealand. South-eastern and eastern mainland Australia and Tasmania.


Farmland and grasslands.

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