The High-spirited Hare

Hares are among our most cherished of mammals and are often confused with rabbits.

Whilst they are relatives of the rabbit and share many of their traits, they also have many differences. Let’s take a little time to look closer at this largely unknown and most remarkable animal.

Weighing around 3 kilograms, they spend their time above ground, sleeping and breeding in shallow depressions in grassy areas called forms. Baby hares, known as leverets, are born with their eyes open and have a full coat of fur. Just minutes after they are born they can hop around.

Because they are not born into the safety of a burrow like rabbits, they quickly learn self-protection and are often able to look after themselves from a very early age. Mother Hare feeds them just once or twice a day which can be around dawn or dusk. Very long ears and an amazing sense of smell enable them to detect oncoming predators often before the predator has noticed them.

To make their escape they hop away very quickly, in a similar way to a kangaroo. Their top speed can be 72km/h or 45 mph. Wow! My advice to you is, never ever try to outrun a hare as you will never win.

Classified as herbivores, hares love to eat grass, some food crops, herbs and ferns. In spring they come together to mate and apart from this they lead solitary lives, enjoying their own company and the natural world around them.

Perhaps we could learn from the Hare to value time spent in quiet solitude, far away from electronic gadgets and other noise pursuits. God will be present in this quiet space. How good it will be to know that we share in the company of the elusive and High-spirited Hare.

By Elizabeth McArdle

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