Other threats to the hare are pasteurellosis, yersiniosis (pseudo-tuberculosis), coccidiosis and tularaemia, which are the principal sources of mortality. Hares are herbivorous and feed mainly on grasses and herbs, supplementing these with twigs, buds, bark and field crops, particularly in winter. ", The hare is a character in some fables, such as The Tortoise and the Hare of Aesop. , A large species of hare native to Europe and parts of Asia, Hares fighting (above) and running during "March madness", Boyle, John Andrew (1974).  Other adaptions for high speed running in hares include wider nostrils and larger hearts.  Several countries, including Norway, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, have placed the species on their Red Lists as "near threatened" or "threatened".  The hare's elongated ears range from 9.4 to 11.0 cm (3.7 to 4.3 in) from the notch to tip. Adaptations in the shape of the hare's body help it navigate through snow and stay warm. , This hare is one of the largest of the lagomorphs. European hare feed on field crops during the spring and summer months, and will forage in such fields until the snow becomes too deep. It is a European member of the Mustelidae or weasel family and is typical of freshwater otters. But did you know these freshwater creatures are not actually eels? It is related to the rabbit, which is in the same family but a different genus. Peak reproductive activity occurs in March and April, when all females may be pregnant, the majority with three or more foetuses. A hare squeals when hurt or scared and a female makes "guttural" calls to attract her young.  In North America, foxes and coyotes are probably the most common predators, with bobcats and lynx also preying on them in more remote locations. To counteract this, a captive breeding program has been implemented in Spain, and the relocation of some individuals from one location to another has increased genetic variety. The European hare was first described in 1778 by German zoologist Peter Simon Pallas. During winter, the coats are snow white and provide excellent camouflage, but towards spring, the color changes to blue-gray to match vegetation and local rocks. Adaptations to life in the desert were studied in brown hares (Lepus capensis) from the Negev Desert of Israel. Hares are swift animals and can run up to 80 km/h (50 mph) over short distances. Their natural predators include large birds of prey, canids and felids.  More recently, informal hare coursing became a lower class activity and was conducted without the landowner's permission; it is also now illegal. The European hare (Lepus europaeus), also known as the brown hare, is a species of hare native to Europe and parts of Asia. There is a gap (diastema) between the incisors and the cheek teeth, the latter being adapted for grinding coarse plant material. It also turns white in winter so that they are almost invisible in a snowy background. , Sixteen subspecies are listed in the IUCN red book, following Hoffmann and Smith (2005):, Twenty-nine subspecies of "very variable status" are listed by Chapman and Flux in their book on lagomorphs, including the subspecies above (with the exceptions of L. e. connori, L. e. creticus, L. e. cyprius, L. e. judeae, L. e. rhodius, and L. e. syriacus) and additionally:, The European hare, like other members of the family Leporidae, is a fast-running terrestrial mammal; it has eyes set high on the sides of its head, long ears and a flexible neck. , European hares are native to much of continental Europe and part of Asia. Arctic Hares flocking in the winter. , The fur colour is grizzled yellow-brown on the back; rufous on the shoulders, legs, neck and throat; white on the underside and black on the tail and ear tips. Hares are herbivorous and feed mainly on grasses and herbs, supplementing these with twigs, buds, bark and field crops, particularly in winter.  These subspecies have been distinguished by differences in pelage colouration, body size, external body measurements, skull morphology and tooth shape.  A 2008 study claims that in the case of Lepus species, with their rapid evolution, species designation cannot be based solely on mtDNA but should also include an examination of the nuclear gene pool.  Genetic diversity in current populations is high with no signs of inbreeding. These have been associated with the intensification of agricultural practices. They do not appear to be territorial, living in shared home ranges of around 300 ha (740 acres). The genus Macropus contains more living and extinct species than any other marsupial genus (Prideaux & Warburton 2010); Scientific Name: Latin word macropus comes from Greek word makros or "long foot"; Latin word rufogriseus means "red-gray haired" . , European hares are large leporids and adults can only be tackled by large predators such as canids, felids and the largest birds of prey. , European brown hare syndrome (EBHS) is a disease caused by a calicivirus similar to that causing rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) and can similarly be fatal, but cross infection between the two mammal species does not occur. Formerly, the subspecies M. r. rufogriseus only referred to wallabies from King Island or the Bass Strait islands and the Tasmanian …  Female fertility continues through May, June and July, but testosterone production decreases in males and sexual behaviour becomes less overt. Before a female consents to mating with a male, she resists interested males by boxing them.  In Scotland concerns have been raised over the increasing numbers of hares shot under license. Gene flow appears to be biased towards males, but overall populations are matrilineally structured. The Christian Church connected the hare with lustfulness and homosexuality, but also associated it with the persecution of the church because of the way it was commonly hunted. By contrast, cottontail rabbits are built for short bursts of speed in more vegetated habitats. , European hares have both external and internal parasites.  At the height of the breeding season, this phenomenon is known as "March madness", when the normally nocturnal bucks are forced to be active in the daytime. , European hares are primarily herbivorous.  The Corsican hare, broom hare and Granada hare were at one time considered to be subspecies of the European hare, but DNA sequencing and morphological analysis support their status as separate species. In comparison to the rabbit, it … However, populations have been declining in mainland Europe since the 1960s, at least partly due to changes in farming practices.  They may have been introduced to Britain by the Romans (circa 2000 years ago). The hind legs of a snowshoe hare are noticeably larger, and have more fur and larger toes than those of other rabbits or hares.  The mad hare reappears in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, in which Alice participates in a crazy tea party with the March Hare and the Mad Hatter. 4.7.1 Ecology - Adaptations, interdependence, competition - Standard demand 2 – Questions Q1.  According to a study done in the Czech Republic, the mean hare densities were highest at altitudes below 200 metres (660 ft), 40 to 60 days of annual snow cover, 450 to 700 millimetres (18 to 28 in) of annual precipitation, and a mean annual air temperature of around 10 °C (50 °F). Intensive cultivation of the land results in greater mortality of young hares (leverets). , Across Europe, over five million European hares are shot each year, making it probably the most important game mammal on the continent. After mating, the gestation period is about 42 days, after which time a female gives birth to a litter of around 3 to 5 offspring on average.  It shares the genus Lepus (Latin for "hare") with 31 other hare and jackrabbit species, jackrabbits being the name given to some species of hare native to North America.  They sometimes eat their own green, faecal pellets to recover undigested proteins and vitamins. It is among the largest hare species and is adapted to temperate, open country.  They also eat twigs, buds and the bark of shrubs and young fruit trees during winter. Endangered British Mammals – European Otter The European Otter (Lutra lutra) is also known as the Eurasian River Otter, Common Otter and Old World Otter. Subsequent colonisations of Central Europe appear to have been initiated by human-caused environmental changes.  The story was annexed to a philosophical problem by Zeno of Elea, who created a set of paradoxes to support Parmenides' attack on the idea of continuous motion, as each time the hare (or the hero Achilles) moves to where the tortoise was, the tortoise moves just a little further away. Matings start before ovulation occurs and the first pregnancies of the year often result in a single foetus, with pregnancy failures being common. It is however possible that restricted gene flow could reduce genetic diversity within populations that become isolated. Boyle adds that "when the authors speak of the hare as the 'companion of Aphrodite and of satyrs and cupids' and 'in the Middle Ages [the hare] appears beside the figure of [mythological] Luxuria', they are on much surer ground. The European hare is listed as being of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature because it has a wide range and is moderately abundant. John Andrew Boyle cites an etymology dictionary by A. Ernout and A. Meillet, who wrote that the lights of Ēostre were carried by hares, that Ēostre represented spring fecundity, love and sexual pleasure. After this hiatus, the size and activity of the males' testes increase, signalling the start of a new reproductive cycle. Their fur is thick to protect them from freezing temperatures. It is traditionally served with (or briefly cooked with) the hare's blood and port wine. When only the fittest male remains, the female stops and allows him to copulate.  Females, or does, can be found pregnant in all breeding months and males, or bucks, are fertile all year round except during October and November. Litter sizes decrease as the breeding season draws to a close with no pregnancies occurring after August. Meanwhile, the subordinates can access the food while the dominants are distracted. Affiliate Disclaimer AnimalCorner.co.uk is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. One of the adaptations of the Arctic hare is that its fur turns white in the winter to help it blend in with its surroundings.  In Poland it was found that the consumption of hares by foxes was at its highest during spring, when the availability of small animal prey was low; at this time of year, hares may constitute up to 50% of the biomass eaten by foxes, with 50% of the mortality of adult hares being caused by their predation. Rate of water turnover was 124 ml kg 082 day −1 in the desert hares, only one-half of the value recorded for the European hares. Impact There appears to be a particularly large degree of genetic diversity in hares in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany. The hind legs are what give the hare its common name. "The Hare in Myth and Reality: A Review Article" as published in, International Union for Conservation of Nature, 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-1.RLTS.T41280A45187424.en, "Cladogenesis of the European brown hare (, 10.2193/0022-541X(2005)069[0760:GSOPOE]2.0.CO;2, "Ecology of European brown hare and distribution of natural foci of Tularaemia in the Czech Republic", "Relationships between density of brown hare, "Natal dispersal of European hare in France", "Exploration forays in juvenile European hares (, "Predation of foxes on a hare population in central Poland", "Disease reveals the predator: sarcoptic mange, red fox predation and prey populations", "Parasitic infections of the European brown hare (, "Hares could be wiped out, experts warn, as mystery deaths spark fears RHD-2 has 'jumped' from rabbits", "Licensed to kill: the landowners who shoot thousands of brown hares", British Association for Shooting and Conservation, Hunting and shooting in the United Kingdom, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=European_hare&oldid=995626309, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 22 December 2020, at 01:32. , In October 2018, it was reported that a mutated form of the rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV2) may have jumped to hares in the UK. The coat's change of color is controlled by the number of daylight hours, which affects the hare's endocrine system.  Observation of the hare's springtime mating behaviour led to the popular English idiom "mad as a March hare", with similar phrases from the sixteenth century writings of John Skelton and Sir Thomas More onwards.  The Bern Convention lists the hare under Appendix III as a protected species.  They have also been introduced, mostly as game animals, to North America (in Ontario and New York State, and unsuccessfully in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Connecticut), the Southern Cone (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay), Bolivia, Chile, Peru and the Falkland Islands, Australia, both islands of New Zealand and the south Pacific coast of Russia. Hares are herbivorous and feed mainly on grasses and herbs, supplementing these with twigs, buds, bark and field crops, particularly in winter.  Females have six-weekly reproductive cycles and are receptive for only a few hours at a time, making competition among local bucks intense. In addition to dominant animals subduing subordinates, the female fights off her numerous suitors if she is not ready to mate. A 2005 nuclear gene pool study suggested that they are, but a 2006 study of the mitochondrial DNA of these same animals concluded that they had diverged sufficiently widely to be considered separate species.  During daytime, a hare hides in a depression in the ground called a "form" where it is partially hidden. This is usually not competition between males, but a female hitting a male, either to show she is not yet ready to mate or to test of his determination.  Two to three adult hares can eat more food than a single sheep. The young ones (leverets) are born fully furred, and with their eyes open. The female nests in a depression on the surface of the ground rather than in a burrow and the young are active as soon as they are born. Depending on the body's fat and protein reserves, the species can survive without food in winter for about 2–8 days. This is the finding of a study of the climate niches of 140 indigenous European mammals. During this spring frenzy, they sometimes strike one another with their paws ("boxing"). In fact, scientifically they are more closely related to catfish. European hares are widespread throughout Europe, where they are called common hares.  During autumn and winter, they primarily choose winter wheat, and are also attracted to piles of sugar beet and carrots provided for them by hunters. When food is well-spaced, all hares are able to access it. For the first 4 weeks of their lives they are fed by their mother… The hare has been hunted across Europe for centuries, with more than five million being shot each year; in Britain, it has traditionally been hunted by beagling and hare coursing, but these field sports are now illegal. It also has long hind feet that have a length of between 14 and 16 cm (5.5 and 6.3 in). The Arctic hare's coat grows longer and thicker for the winter. With regards to climate, the study found that hare densities were highest in "warm and dry districts with mild winters". , In Northern Europe, Easter imagery often involves hares or rabbits. To show interest they raise their ears, while lowering the ears warns others to keep away.  They are not found in Ireland, where the mountain hare is the only native species. , The European hare has a wide range across Europe and western Asia and has been introduced to a number of other countries around the globe, often as a game species. It is among the largest hare species and is adapted to temperate, open country. , European hares have a prolonged breeding season which lasts from January to August. Undocumented introductions probably occurred in some Mediterranean Islands.  In his 19th-century study of the hare in folk custom and mythology, Charles J. Billson cites folk customs involving the hare around Easter in Northern Europe, and argues that the hare was probably a sacred animal in prehistoric Britain's festival of springtime.  The golden eagle preys on the European hare in the Alps, the Carpathians, the Apennines and northern Spain. They have a short thick undercoat protected by a longer top coat. The five species of jackrabbits found in central and western North America are able to run at 64 km/h (40 mph) over longer distances, and can leap up to 3 m (10 ft) at a time.  Leverets disperse during the day and come together in the evening close to where they were born.  Young can eat solid food after two weeks and are weaned when they are four weeks old. In beagling, the hare is hunted with a pack of small hunting dogs, beagles, followed by the human hunters on foot. The European otter is the most widely distributed otter species being widely spread […] When challenging a conspecific, a hare thumps its front feet; the hind feet are used to warn others of a predator. The Greeks associated it with the gods Dionysus, Aphrodite and Artemis as well as with satyrs and cupids. , Does give birth in hollow depressions in the ground. The European hare (Lepus europaeus), also known as the brown hare, is a species of hare native to Europe and parts of Asia.  During the spring and summer, they feed on soy, clover and corn poppy as well as grasses and herbs. Young hares can be roasted; the meat of older hares becomes too tough for roasting, and may be slow-cooked. The mountain hare has a grey-brown coat in summer, with a bluish tinge, and turns white in winter - only its ear tips stay black. 2 Habitat suitability maps for Italian hare (a), and for European hare (b) as computed from ENFA.  Sexual maturity occurs at seven or eight months for females and six months for males. The jackrabbits spend the winter months browsing on saplings and buds that grow in and around fence lines, red willow swamps, and new growth hardwoods. Litters may consist of three or four young and a female can bear three litters a year, with hares living for up to twelve years. The Best 20 Gallon Fish Tank Guide – 2021, The Best Aquarium Vacuum Buyers Guide – 2021, The Best Goldfish Food Buyers Guide – 2021, The Best Aquarium Rock Buyers Guide – 2021. The data were analyzed for (1) differences among host sex and age classes, and among months and sample sources, and (2) evidence that parasitism was of demographic significance to the hare … , In Europe, the hare has been a symbol of sex and fertility since at least Ancient Greece. , European hares forage in groups. The dental formula is 2/1, 0/0, 3/2, 3/3. They are distinguished from other leporids (hares and rabbits) by their longer legs, wider nostrils and active (precocial) young. , The International Union for Conservation of Nature has evaluated the European hare's conservation status as being of least concern.  The leverets are fully furred and are precocial, being ready to leave the nest soon after they are born, an adaptation to the lack of physical protection relative to that afforded by a burrow.  In Poland, hares are most abundant in areas with few forest edges, perhaps because foxes can use these for cover. The European hare (Lepus europaeus), also known as the brown hare, is a species of hare native to Europe and parts of Asia. , There is some debate as to whether the European hare and the Cape hare are the same species. The European hare is the smallest mammalian species in Europe dwelling above ground or without shelter throughout the year.  The fur on the back is typically longer and more curled than on the rest of the body.  Hares can live for as long as twelve years. However, at low population densities, hares are vulnerable to local extinctions as the available gene pool declines, making inbreeding more likely. They are very adaptable and thrive in mixed farmland. When food is clumped together, only dominant hares can access it. In general it is considered moderately abundant in its native range, but declines in populations have been noted in many areas since the 1960s. 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