What Is The Difference Between Hare and Rabbit?
Hares and rabbits are both members of the Leporidae family and are often mistaken for one another. They share many similarities in appearance and behavior, but there are also distinct differences that set them apart.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the key differences between hares and rabbits, exploring the unique characteristics that make these two animals distinct from one another. Whether you're a nature enthusiast or just curious about these fascinating creatures, this article will give you a deeper understanding of the differences between hares and rabbits.
Difference Between Hare and Rabbit
Source: BBC Wildlife Magazine | A Hare
Appearance and behavior
- Hares are generally larger and faster than rabbits, and they tend to have longer ears and legs. They are typically more solitary and aggressive, while rabbits are more social and docile. Hares are also known for their strong legs and are able to run at high speeds, which allows them to escape from predators.
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- Hares prefer fields, grasses, and hedgerows, and are most prevalent on open farmlands, grassland environments, and along forest edges. They graze on plants as well as the bark of young bushes and trees. On the other hand, rabbits favor short grassy patches that are either naturally occurring, like in semi-arid regions, or the product of pastures that have been heavily grazed.
- While hares tend to eat more coarse and fibrous plants, such as twigs, bark, and grasses; rabbits prefer to eat softer plants, such as clover and garden vegetables.
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Source: Satyabratasm | A Rabbit
- Hares are known for their fast maturity as they are able to breed as early as 3-4 months of age. They have a shorter gestation period of about 42 days and can have up to 4 litters per year, with an average of 4-5 young per litter. On the other hand, rabbits have a gestation period of about 31 days and usually have 2-3 litters per year with an average of 4-6 young per litter.
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- The most striking difference between hares and rabbits can be seen in their infants, according to National Geographic. When hares are born, their furs are fully-formed and developed eyes. On the other hand, when rabbits are born, they are furless with undeveloped eyes, and without the ability to regulate their temperature.
Apart from the aforementioned differences, there is another that sets hares and rabbits apart. Hares live entirely aboveground, unlike rabbits who live in burrows or warrens.
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According to Australian wildlife biologist Philip Stott, the moniker "harebrained" derives from the animals' uneasiness in confinement, where they are prone to spooking at the smallest stimuli, which sometimes leads them to their own deaths.
Overall, while hares and rabbits have a few similarities, they also have distinct differences in their physical characteristics, behavior, and life cycles. We hope that this article was helpful in understanding the differences between hares and rabbits.
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