The Brown Hare (Lepus Europaeus)

Very long black-tipped ears
Large powerful hind legs
Head/body length : 520-595mm
Tail: 85-120mm
Weight : average 3-4kg
Life Span : 3-4 years


It was commonly thought that the brown hare was introduced into Britain by the Romans, however, recent evidence points to the brown hare having been introduced into Britain at least 2000 years ago. It may be possible that the brown hare originated in central Asia, spreading across Europe during the Neolithic period and reaching Britain toward the end of the Iron Age.

Brown hares have a very acute sense of smell, can run at speeds up to 45 mph (70 kph) and their main predators are the fox, hawk and owl. Brown hares do not make burrows like rabbits. Instead they make what is called a 'form', a small depressions in the ground concealed in the grass. They are a nocturnal feeding animal eating grasses, herbs, field crops, twigs, buds, shrub bark and small trees. Two to three hares can eat as much vegetation as one sheep. The female rears three or four litters per year with 2 to 3 young (leverets) per litter. Despite this high breeding frequency the brown hare population in Britain has been on the decline and is now a concern for conservationists, with numbers falling as low as 800,000.

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