Rabbit (animal)

Article

January 26, 2022

The hare (Lepus europaeus), also called European hare to distinguish it from other hare species, is a mammal that, like the rabbit, belongs to the order of lagomorphs (Lagomorpha). The hare is common in the open grassy and agricultural areas of Europe and adjacent parts of Asia.

Appearance Features

The hare is a large lagomorph with an elongated body, very long ears and long legs. The hind legs are longer and more powerful than the front legs. Each leg has five toes and hairy pads. The European hare has a grayish yellow to rusty brown fur, which serves as camouflage. The underside is greyish white in color. However, many color variants are known, including sand-colored, albino or all-black. Young animals often have a white spot on the head. The top of the short tail ("plume") is black, the underside white. The long ears ("spoons") are gray with a black tip. The hare molts twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. The summer coat is lighter in color than the reddish winter coat. Animals from warmer and more open areas have a lighter coat color than animals from colder and more wooded areas. The coat is dense and soft and consists of three hair types: an undercoat with 15mm hairs, down 24 to 27mm and topcoats from 32 to 35mm. The eyes are large and golden brown and surrounded by lighter fur. The female has six mammae. Superficially, a hare resembles the rabbit, but it is larger, with proportionally larger, black-tipped ears and longer limbs. A hare also moves more in leaps and bounds. It is distinguished from the snowshoe hare by the more yellow fur, the darker top of the tail and the longer ears.

Senses

The large ears, they are called spoons, provide excellent hearing. They can move independently of each other and can thus pick up sound from every direction. A hare can turn its ears 190° outwards. In addition to sharp hearing, the hare also has a highly developed sense of smell to detect enemies and pick up the scent of females in rut. By constantly sniffing, the hare catches smells all the time. The sideways placed eyes provide a 360° field of view. So there is overlap in front and behind him, and the hare does not have to move his head to see his surroundings. Only just in front of and just behind him is a blind spot. However, the hare is poor at estimating depth. Along the nose are whiskers about ten centimeters long.

Dimensions

The hare has a head-torso length of 48 to 73 centimeters, a shoulder height of 30 centimeters and a body weight of 2500 to 7000 grams. The male ("rattle" or "ram") is about five percent heavier than the female ("nut" or "marsh hare"). The tail is about 7 to 13 centimeters long, the ears 7.9 to 14 centimeters and the hind foot length is 11.5 to 17 centimeters. The dimensions differ per habitat: in the Mediterranean area hares rarely weigh more than three kilograms, while in Hungary they regularly reach a weight of about six kilograms.

Traces

The paw prints of a hare are 30 to 35 millimeters wide. The imprint of the forefoot is about 40 millimeters long, that of the hindfoot is 60 millimeters. There is a distance of a few decimeters to about 3.5 meters between two prints. The footprints are, due to the strong fur on the legs, quite unclear, but sometimes the four toes are visible. The distance and pattern of the tracks indicate the walking speed, as shown on the right. The tracks of a foraging hare (A) are closer together than a normal running track (B) or a fleeing hare (C). The droppings (boonsel) of a hare are light to yellow brown or dark green to black in color, and round and slightly flattened in shape, sometimes with a point. A dropping has a cross section

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