The brown hare is a larger, more athletic relative of the rabbit. It is able to adapt to a variety of habitats and so is one of the most widely distributed land animals in the world.

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Hare Habits

Unlike the rabbit, the hare is solitary and does not dig burrows, but instead it lives entirely above ground. During the day it rests and sleeps in a form, which it makes by scraping out a shallow depression in the ground, just fitting its body when crouching low. The form may be against a hedge, in short grass, scrub or a ploughed furrow. When lying in its form with ears laid flat, a hare is well-camouflaged.

If disturbed, it lies perfectly still, hoping to escape notice. If an enemy comes too near, however, the hare leaps up and runs away at speed, tail held downwards. It is built for speed, with its long hind legs and sleek body, and can reach 35 miles an hour! Most pursuers are outrun and the hare also outwits them by swerving and running in zig-zag fashion.

The best time to see a hare is in early morning or at dusk, when it is feeding. In between nibbling plants, it frequently sits up to have a good look around. Its keen sense of smell and hearing help it to detect predators. When moving around a field, the hare stays close to the ground with its ears flat along its back. It moves slowly and carefully, so as to remain inconspicuous.

Predators: foxes, stoats, buzzards and owls may all eat leverets but adult hares are usually fast enough to escape from most enemies.

Read More: Hares and Humans

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