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Hare: Facts You Won’t Believe!

Hare facts are educational for kids.

Do you love hares? Keep on reading to know about this fascinating species native to the Alps and North America. Arctic hares (Lepus arcticus) are found in the Canadian Arctic Islands, Greenland, and Northern Canada. Whereas, mountain hares (Lepus timidus), often confused with European hares, are native to the Alps, Hokkaido, Ireland, and Poland. Snowshoe rabbits (Lepus americanus), also known as Varying Hares, are a species of hare found in the boreal forests of North America, New England, and Alaska.

All these hares are highly adaptive to camouflage in the snow to protect themselves from all kinds of threats by predators like Arctic foxes, lynx, and rough-legged hawks.

Snowshoe hares get their name because of their large hind legs, which are noticeably larger than that of any other hare. These large feet prevent the snowshoe rabbit from sinking into the snow and also help them to hop high. However, their population is still persevering in the wild and is currently considered of 'Least Concern', according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Find this interesting? Read more about animals in the articles regarding the brown hare and the snowshoe hare.

Hare Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Hare?

Hares are animals that closely resemble rabbits.

What class of animal does a Hare belong to?

The class to which hares belong is Mammalia.

How many Hares are there in the world?

The population of Arctic hares fluctuates throughout the year, though their numbers are increasing. According to Gros Morne National Park, the number increased from 230 to 870 in just three years. The numbers for mountain hares have been impressive, there were around 350,000 hares just in the Scottish Highlands. Snowshoe hares face a rapid rise and fall over a 10-year cycle, where analysts have claimed that there are around 3,400 hares per square mile.

Where does a Hare live?

Generally, Arctic hares live in Tundra plateaus, as they need cold temperatures. Whereas, mountain hares live in lowland pastures and salt marshes. Meanwhile, varying hares live in the boreal forests of North America.

What is a Hare's habitat?

An Arctic hare's natural habitat is in Tundra plateaus as this hare prefers to live in tree mountain tracts and uplands. The vegetation on such plateaus mainly consists of grasses, lichens, mosses, and sedges. A mountain hare is a native of cold mountains. These hares with longer ears can be found in Scotland, northeastern Poland, and the Alps. It needs low-growing woody vegetation in a shrubland habitat.  A varying hare lives in the boreal forests which are a terrestrial subarctic, that is, covered with larches and pines.

Who do Hares live with?

The Lepus arcticus generally scatter during the mating season. The pairs then find mating territory. These animals have more than one partner. A Lepus timidus and a Lepus americanus are inclined towards solitude but during the mating season, they are often seen in loose groups. Though these hare species can huddle up in groups for warmth.

How long does a Hare live?

An Arctic hare's lifespan is around three to five years in the wild. The Tundra hares generally live up to 12 years, whereas varying hares live up to only five years.

How do they reproduce?

The Arctic hares generally pair up and find a mating territory. Males usually mate with more than one partner. The mating season for these animals occurs in early summer or spring, giving birth to two to eight young hares. The mating season for mountain hares occurs by the end of January and from March to July. Breeding season occurs more than once a year, for a female. They have one or two litters, with the litter size of one to four young babies. The mating season for varying hares has two to three litters per year, with the litter size of one to eight babies. The young ones are called leverets.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, hares currently fall under the classification of Least Concern.

Hare Fun Facts

What do Hares look like?

Hare facts are intriguing.

Hares are a member of the family Leporidae. They are generally associated with changing their colors to camouflage from predators.

Although hares and rabbits look alike, hares are bigger than rabbits. Arctic hares are the largest hares found in North America. There are black tips on their ears, which remain throughout the year despite the change in the color of their fur from brown to white. While standing, they look larger than rabbits. They have shorter ears as compared to other species of hare. Though mountain hares are said to be one of the largest hares, they still are noticeably smaller than rabbits. Their tail remains white throughout the year. Varying hares have white flanks throughout the year, regardless of the fact that during the summer season they have fur in the rusty brown color. The very reason for their names lies in the hind legs which are larger than usual. These species of hares are said to be larger than rabbits in size while standing.

How cute are they?

Like any other Leporidae, these herbivorous animals are extremely cute. Their white-colored fur which camouflages well with snow makes them even more adorable.

How do they communicate?

For Arctic hares, it is the smell and scent that work as a medium for communication. Whereas, the mountain hares rely on visual signals for communication. Even though varying hares are not vocal animals, they make loud squealing sounds and thump their hind legs against the ground if they fear any predators.

How big is a Hare?

Arctic hares are 17 in - 28 in (43 cm - 70 cm) long and upon standing they seem to be taller and larger than rabbits. On the other hand, mountain hares are 18 in - 26 in (45 cm - 65 cm) long. The females are heavier than the males. Whereas, varying hares are 16 in - 20.4 in (41.3 cm - 51.8 cm) long.

How fast can a Hare run?

Arctic hares can run up to a speed of 40 mph (60 kph) and mountain hares can run up to 45 mph (72.4 kph). Whereas, varying hares can run up to only 27 mph (43.45 kph), though this species can cover a distance of up to ten feet in a single bound.

How much does a Hare weigh?

Adult Arctic hares can weigh 6 lb - 12 lb (2.5 kg - 5.5 kg), and mountain hares' weight varies between 4.4 lb - 11.7 lb (2 kg - 5.3 kg). The females are heavier than the males of this species. Varying hares weight fluctuates between 2.6 lb - 3.5 lb (1.2 kg - 1.6 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the males and females of the species. They are just called male hares or female hares.

What would you call a baby Hare?

A baby hare of these species is known as a leveret.

What do they eat?

In the summer season, Arctic hares eat berries, roots, and bark. In the winter season, despite food scarcity, they survive on lichens, moss, and woody plants. The mountain hares eat twigs during the summer season. In the winter season, as the food is buried under snow, these hares eat heather. There is a diversity in the diet of varying hares. They are heavily dependent on the vegetation. During the summers, they survive on herbs and woody vegetation. During the winter season, they survive on buds, twigs, and barks.

Are they dangerous?

Hares are not at all dangerous in nature. However, if they sense danger they will bolt and try to escape the predators with either their quick running or their high jump, which helps them to cover a distance of 10 feet in a single bound.

Would they make a good pet?

These species of hares don't really fare well under captivity. Thus they are not very likely to be house pets.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

Arctic hares are also known as Polar rabbits. They are the epitome of the taxonomic order of Lagomorphs. They have black eyelashes which protect them from glares. They have a 360 view because of the placement of their eyes. Unlike rabbits, mountain hares don't dig burrows. They look for shelter, which is a depression on grounds known as forms, to keep themselves warm and to sleep in. They are also known as blue hares because of the bluish thick undercoat which keeps them warm.  

Varying Hares are excellent swimmers which helps them to evade predators. Unlike rabbits, they live and sleep above the ground their entire life.

Hares are called hares because they are quick on their feet and the meaning of the verb hare is to move quickly.

Different types of Hare

There is a variety of species of hares which range up to 40, worldwide.

Hares vs. rabbit

Unlike rabbits, hares have longer ears and limbs. Rabbits are born blind and fully depend on their mothers. Whereas, hares are a precocial species, born with their eyes open, making them independent. The food choices are not similar for hares and rabbits, even though both are herbivores.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including the mountain hare and the Arctic hare.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our hare coloring pages.

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