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Scientific classification

Hares belong to family Leporidae, and mostly in genus Lepus. They are very fast moving. The European Hare[?] can run at speeds of up to 72 km/h (45 mph). Hares live solitarily or in pairs.

A common type of hare in North America is the Snowshoe Hare.

See also Rabbit.

For a brief discussion of the differences between rabbits and hares, see this website (http://www.alienexplorer.com/ecology/m101).

Normally a shy animal, the European brown hare (lepus europaeus) 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.

  • Family Lagomorpha
    • Genus Lepus
      • Antelope Jackrabbit, Lepus alleni
      • Snowshoe Hare, Lepus americanus
      • Arctic Hare, Lepus arcticus
      • Japanese Hare, Lepus brachyurus
      • Black-tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
      • White-sided Jackrabbit, Lepus callotis
      • Cape Hare, Lepus capensis
      • Broom Hare, castrovieoi
      • Yunan Hare, comus
      • Korean Hare, Lepus coreanus
      • Corsican Hare, Lepus corsicanus
      • Savanna Hare, Lepus crawshayi
      • European Hare[?], Lepus europaeus
      • Ethiopian Hare, Lepus fagani
      • Tehuantepec Jackrabbit, Lepus flavigularis
      • Granada Hare, Lepus granatensis
      • Hainan Hare, Lepus hainanus
      • Black Jackrabbit, Lepus insularis
      • Manchurian Hare, Lepus mandschuricus
      • Indian Hare, Lepus nigricollis
      • Woolly Hare, Lepus oiostolus
      • Alaskan Hare, Lepus othus
      • Burmese Hare, Lepus peguensis
      • Scrub Hare, Lepus saxatilis
      • Chinese Hare, Lepus sinensis
      • Ethiopian Highland Hare, Lepus starcki
      • Mountain Hare, Lepus timidus
      • Tolai Hare, Lepus tolai
      • White-tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus townsendii
      • African Savanna Hare, Lepus victoriae
      • Malawi Hare, Lepus whytei
      • Yarkand Hare, Lepus yarkandensis
    • Genus Caprolagus
      • Hispid Hare, Caprolagus hispidus
    • Genus Pronolagus
      • Greater Red Rockhare, Pronolagus crassicaudatus
      • Jameson's Red Rockhare, Pronolagus randensis
      • Smith's Red Rockhare, Pronolagus rupestris
    • 8 other genera in family, regarded as rabbits, not hares

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. (Note that the famous cartoon trickster Bugs Bunny is a jackrabbit[?], which is actually a species of hare)

Many cultures, including the Japanese, see a hare in the pattern of craters in the moon (see Man in the Moon). The constellation Lepus represents a hare.


The hare as food is quite unlike rabbit. The meat is much darker and (as befits an animal noted for its running) full of blood; when cooked it is a very rich, tender meat.

Recipe: Cream sauce for a hare

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