Thursday, July 10, 2014

Difference between a rabbit and a hare

When I was driving back from east of town the other night with friends, Jamey and Lois, we saw a snowshoe hare.  Our sighting led to a discussion about the difference between a rabbit and a hare.  We decided that I should research the subject and post the information on this blog.

I must admit that before doing this research, I did not know the difference between these two animals.  I have always thought that they are the same genus:  they are not.  I always figured that their behavior, life cycle, and diet are the same:  they are not. 



The Differences

Rabbit -- Rabbits in the family Leporidae and include eight different genus
Hare -- Hares are also in the family Leporidae belonging to the genus Lepus.

Rabbit -- Kittens are born hairless, blind, and completely helpless.
Hare --   Leverets are are born fully furred and can be independent within an hour of birth.

Rabbit kitten

Hare leveret
Hares are larger than rabbits have longer hind legs as well as longer ears.  The skulls of rabbits and hares are also different.

The fur coat of rabbits stays the same color throughout the year.  The hare's coat, on the other hand, changes color from grayish brown in summer to white in winter.

Rabbits eat soft stems, grass, and vegetables.  Hares eat harder plant components such as bark, rind, buds, and small twigs. 

Rabbits live in burrows or tunnels and stay underground during the day to protect themselves and their kittens.  Hares live in simple nests on the ground's surface among foliage and escape enemies by running.

Social Arrangement
Rabbits are very social animals and live in colonies with males who fight to dominate the colony.  Hares are solitary creatures that pair off to mate.  The males do not fight for dominance.

Rabbits have been domesticated and are also used as a food source for humans.  Hares have not been domesticated and are used less as a food source.

Rabbits live 9-12 years.  Hares live 4-5 years.

Additional Information

  • The Jackrabbit is actually a hare.
  • Rabbit's eyes are positioned on the sides, so they can effectively see larger areas. In fact, rabbits can see behind them without turning their heads.
  • Rabbit's eyes remain black when reflecting a bright light. In comparison human eyes appear red, cats and dogs - green, and deer eyes turn orange. 
  • A male rabbit is called a buck, a female - a doe. 
  • Both rabbits and hares breed prolifically, bearing four to eight litters each year.
  • A litter of rabbits generally has three to eight young. They have a gestation period of about a month, are sexually mature in about six months.
  •  Hares can run up to 64 km/h (40 mph), and can leap up to 3m (ten feet) at a time.


1 comment:

  1. I had no idea a newborn was called a kitten. Your blog is very interesting. I'm from Michigan and miss it much!