The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary








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|- valign=top |Kingdom:||Animalia |- valign=top |Phylum:||Chordata |- valign=top |Class:||Mammalia |- valign=top |Order:||Lagomorpha |- valign=top |Family:||Leporidae |} |- style="text-align:center; background:pink;" !Genera |- | Lepus
Pronolagus |} Hares and Jackrabbits belong to family Leporidae, and mostly in genus Lepus.

Very young hares are called leverets.

They are very fast moving. The European Brown Hare can run at speeds of up to 70 km/h (45 mi/h). Hares live solitarily or in pairs.

A common type of hare in arctic North America is the Snowshoe Hare, replaced further south by the Black-tailed Jackrabbit, White-tailed Jackrabbit and other species.

Normally a shy animal, the European Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus) changes its behaviour in spring, when hares can be seen in broad daylight chasing one another around meadows; this appears to be competition between males to attain dominance (and hence more access to breeding females). During this spring frenzy, hares can be seen "boxing"; one hare striking another with its paws. For a long time it had been thought that this was more inter-male competition, but closer observation has revealed that it is usually a female hitting a male; either to show that she is not yet quite ready to mate, or as a test of his determination.

Hares do not bear their young below ground in a burrow as do other Leporidae, but rather in a shallow depression or flattened nest of grass called a form. Young hares are adapted to the lack of physical protection offered by a burrow by being precocial, born fully furred and with eyes open. By contrast, the related rabbits and cottontail rabbits are altricial, having young that are born blind and hairless.

Order Lagomorpha

  • Family Leporidae
    • Genus Lepus
      • Antelope Jackrabbit , Lepus alleni
      • Snowshoe Hare, Lepus americanus
      • Japanese Hare , Lepus brachyurus
      • Black-tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
      • White-sided Jackrabbit , Lepus callotis
      • Cape Hare , Lepus capensis
      • Broom Hare , Lepus castrovieoi
      • Yunan Hare , Lepus comus
      • Korean Hare , Lepus coreanus
      • Corsican Hare , Lepus corsicanus
      • Savanna Hare , Lepus crawshayi
      • European Hare, Lepus europaeus
      • Ethiopian Hare , Lepus fagani
      • Tehuantepec Jackrabbit , Lepus flavigularis
      • Granada Hare , Lepus granatensis
      • Hainan Hare , Lepus hainanus
      • Black Jackrabbit , Lepus insularis
      • Manchurian Hare , Lepus mandschuricus
      • Indian Hare , Lepus nigricollis
      • Woolly Hare , Lepus oiostolus
      • Alaskan Hare , Lepus othus
      • Burmese Hare , Lepus peguensis
      • Scrub Hare , Lepus saxatilis
      • Chinese Hare , Lepus sinensis
      • Ethiopian Highland Hare , Lepus starcki
      • Mountain Hare, Lepus timidus (including Arctic Hare)
      • Tolai Hare , Lepus tolai
      • White-tailed Jackrabbit , Lepus townsendii
      • African Savanna Hare , Lepus victoriae
      • Malawi Hare , Lepus whytei
      • Yarkand Hare , Lepus yarkandensis
    • Genus Caprolagus
      • Hispid Hare , Caprolagus hispidus
    • Genus Pronolagus
      • Greater Red Rockhare , Pronolagus crassicaudatus
      • Jameson's Red Rockhare , Pronolagus randensis
      • Smith's Red Rockhare , Pronolagus rupestris
    • 8 other genera in family, regarded as rabbits, not hares


The hare's diet is very similar to that of the rabbit.

Folklore and Mythology

The hare in African folk tales is a trickster: some of the stories about the hare were retold among African slaves in America, and are the basis of the Brer Rabbit stories. (Note that the famous cartoon trickster Bugs Bunny is a jackrabbit, which is actually a species of hare.) The hare appears in English folklore in the saying "as mad as a March hare".

Many cultures, including the Japanese, see a hare in the pattern of craters in the moon (see Man in the Moon). The constellation Lepus represents a hare.

The Three Hares

Recent (2004) research has followed the history and migration of a symbolic image of three hares with conjoined ears. In this image, three hares are seen chasing each other in a circle with their heads near its centre. While each of the animals appears to have two ears, only three ears are depicted. The ears form a triangle at the centre of the circle and each is shared by two of the hares. The image has been traced from Christian churches in the English county of Devon right back along the Silk Road to China, via Western and Eastern Europe and the Middle East. It is possible that even before its appearance in China it was actually first depicted in the Middle East before being re-imported centuries later. Its use has been found associated with Christian, Jewish, Islamic and Buddhist sites stretching back to about 600 CE. External link: The Three Hares Project

Last updated: 02-08-2005 18:57:45
Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55