Hares Everywhere (almost)

Hare at a stand

Hare at a stand (Photo credit: birdsaspoetry)

Regarding Hares.

Hares are larger than rabbits and are not as colorful.  One of the characteristics of hares is the black markings on their heads and ears.  Their fur comes in earthy tones such as dark red, different shades of brown, and in the case of the snowshoe hares, white.  Now, you might ask, what is the difference between a rabbit and a hare?  Well, you came to the right place.  The most defining characteristics between rabbits and hares is the stage right after birth.  While rabbits are born in burrows, blind, hairless, and defenseless, hares are born fully furred and with their eyes wide open.  This is partly because hares do not make burrows, so hares must be born ready to take care of themselves.  Although hares are not domesticated like rabbits are, there is one type of rabbit called the “Belgian hare” that has been selectively bred to resemble a hare.   The hare’s natural habitat includes some of the Earasian islands and every continent except Antarctica,  Austalia, and the surrounding islands.  I say “natural” because in the 1900’s a number of hares were transported to an Australian ranch because the owner found joy in hunting them.  To make a long story short, the hares multiplied so fast that he was not able to control the population.  The imported hares overwhelmed the natural wildlife, took over,  none of the predators in the area ate hares, and the hares also carried diseases.  Ultimately the hares were brought under control as more people and predators started to hunt them.  But that just goes to show what can happen if you import just one animal into an Ecosystem.  Hares can also be very beneficial to their environment.  In North America and Europe where over half the hare and rabbit population resides.  Hares serve as replenishable food for humans and animals because of their rapid reproduction and abundance.  Normally a shy animal, the European brown hare changes its behavior in spring, when hares can be seen in broad daylight fighting and chasing one another around meadows; this appears to be competition between males.  But closer observation has revealed it is usually a female hitting a male to prevent copulation.  So in conclusion, hares are a most replenishable and beneficial food source and are part of most healthy ecosystems.