From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. (Four other species of leporid in the genera Caprolagus and Pronolagus are also called "hares".) Very young hares are called leverets.
They are very fast moving. The European Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus) 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 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 born fully furred and with eyes open. They are hence able to fend for themselves very quickly after birth, that is to say they are precocial. By contrast, the related rabbits and cottontail rabbits are altricial, having young that are born blind and hairless.
The hare's diet is very similar to that of the rabbit.
- Genus Lepus
- Subgenus Macrotolagus
- Antelope Jackrabbit, Lepus alleni
- Subgenus Poecilolagus
- Snowshoe Hare, Lepus americanus
- Subgenus Lepus
- Arctic Hare, Lepus arcticus
- Alaskan Hare, Lepus othus
- Mountain Hare, Lepus timidus
- Subgenus Proeulagus
- Black-tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
- White-sided Jackrabbit, Lepus callotis
- Cape Hare, Lepus capensis
- Tehuantepec Jackrabbit, Lepus flavigularis
- Black Jackrabbit, Lepus insularis
- Scrub Hare, Lepus saxatilis
- Desert Hare, Lepus tibetanus
- Tolai Hare, Lepus tolai
- Subgenus Eulagos
- Broom Hare, Lepus castroviejoi
- Yunnan Hare, Lepus comus
- Korean Hare, Lepus coreanus
- Corsican Hare, Lepus corsicanus
- European Hare, Lepus europaeus
- Granada Hare, Lepus granatensis
- Manchurian Hare, Lepus mandschuricus
- Woolly Hare, Lepus oiostolus
- Ethiopian Highland Hare, Lepus starcki
- White-tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus townsendii
- Subgenus Sabanalagus
- Ethiopian Hare, Lepus fagani
- African Savanna Hare, Lepus microtis
- Subgenus Indolagus
- Hainan Hare, Lepus hainanus
- Indian Hare, Lepus nigricollis
- Burmese Hare, Lepus peguensis
- Subgenus Sinolagus
- Chinese Hare, Lepus sinensis
- Subgenus Tarimolagus
- Yarkand Hare, Lepus yarkandensis
- Subgenus incertae sedis
- Japanese Hare, Lepus brachyurus
- Abyssinian Hare, Lepus habessinicus
- Subgenus Macrotolagus
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. The hare appears in English folklore in the saying "as mad as a March hare".
Many cultures, including the Indian and Japanese, see a hare in the pattern of dark patches in the moon (see Man in the Moon). The constellation Lepus represents a hare. There is evidence to suggest that there was some sort of taboo regarding hares in the Proto-Indo-European culture; this is especially notable due to the likelihood that the common word for hare, *kasos, which literally means "the grey one", was a euphemism for a previous and now lost word for hare.
- Peppy Hare from the Star Fox series of video games
- Jack Hare, central character in Kit Williams' treasure hunt book Masquerade
- Bucky O'Hare
- Jazz Jackrabbit
- Hare from Monster Rancher
- Hartley Hare from Pipkins
- Mad March Hare from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
- Hare Jordan, Bugs Bunny's alter-ego in a Nike advertisement campaign alongside Michael Jordan.
- Night of the Lepus features a number of murderous hares.
- Two hares travelled with The Animals of Farthing Wood
- The hare in the fable The Tortoise and the Hare, attributed to Aesop
- A large number of hares appear in the Redwall series of books and are almost always militaristic, particularly those from Salamandastron, and have an affected speech pattern.
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