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.

Hares and Humans

Hares have been hunted by humans for centuries both for meat and sport. They were once very common in pastures and ploughed fields but over recent years their numbers have declined drastically in many areas. As of June 2012 hare numbers had declined from around 4 million a century ago to 750,000 to 800,000, although they are still fairly common in lowland Scotland.

Hare's decline is most likely due to a reduction in suitable habitat because of housing developments and new roads; also farm machinery, such as mowers, killing leverets - and perhaps insecticides too. Another serious threat is the use of herbicides (weedkillers) in crop fields which kill many wild plants the hares need for a nutritional diet.

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