Hare

Hare seen near the Access Area of Bepton DOwn.
Hare seen near the Access Area of Bepton Down.

This Brown Hare was seen on Bepton Down on 22nd November, 2015.   It kept coming towards me and got to within 2m of my feet.

Hare (Lepus europaeus)

The brown hare is generally speaking a shy animal preferring to be active at night.  However when living in relatively undisturbed surroundings one sometimes has the good fortune to see them during the day.

They are herbivores and a prey animal to foxes and some raptors.  To keep out of sight during the day they will lie still in a “form” – a depression in the ground.  When running from a predator they are able to reach a top speed of 70 km/h (43mph).  They have a lengthy breeding season which runs from January until August.  The doe will produce young during these months after a gestation lasting about 41 days.  The leverets are are born fully furred and precocial so able to leave the nest on the ground straight after birth.  The leverets are usually separated and left in individual forms which the mother will visit for only five minutes a day.  The young are fully weaved at four weeks of age.  The oldest recorded wild hare was 12 years old.

A hare will weigh between 2.5 to 7kg.  Its ears will measure up to 11 cm in length.  The long hind feet which provide the thrust for speed measure between 14 and 16 cm in length.  Its body may be up to 75cm long.  The body is covered with dense fur which is rufous on the shoulders, legs, neck and throat.  It is white underneath and black on the tail and ear tips.  The rest of its body has yellow brown fur.

 

The Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus) is found throughout England, Scotland and Wales but is absent from Ireland.  Ireland has its own unique hare, known as the Irish Hare (Lepus timidus hibernicus).  In Britain and more especially in Scotland Mountain Hares (Lepus timidus) is to be found above 500m.

 

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