Rabbits are mammals. Like rabbits, hares also belong to the hare family. Scientifically, hares and rabbits are difficult to tell apart. With us, however, it is simple: in Europe, only the brown hare lives, in the Alps and in Scandinavia also the mountain hare. The rest are wild rabbits.
In addition to Europe, rabbits have always lived in North America, Asia, and Africa. Today they also live in South America and Australia because humans took them there. The arctic hare can live from the northern areas to near the arctic.
Brown hares are easily recognized by their long ears. Their fur is yellowish-brown on their backs and white on their abdomens. Her short tail is black and white. With their long hind legs, they are very fast and can jump high. They can also smell and see very well. They live in fairly open landscapes, i.e. in sparse forests, meadows, and fields. In large open areas, hedges, shrubs, and small trees are important to make them feel comfortable.
How do hares live?
Hares live alone. They are usually out and about at dusk and at night. They eat grass, leaves, roots, and grains, i.e. grains of all kinds. In winter they also eat the bark of trees.
Hares don’t build dens. They look for hollows in the ground called “Sassen”. That comes from the verb sit – he sat. Ideally, these pads are covered in greenery, making a good hiding spot. Their enemies are foxes, wolves, wildcats, lynxes, and birds of prey such as owls, hawks, buzzards, eagles, and hawks. Hunters also like to shoot a rabbit from time to time.
In the event of an attack, hares will duck into their pack and hope not to be discovered. Their brownish camouflage color also helps them. If that doesn’t help, they flee. They can reach speeds of up to 70 kilometers per hour, as fast as a particularly good racehorse. The enemies, therefore, capture mainly young animals.
How do rabbits breed?
European hares mate from January to October. Pregnancy only lasts about six weeks. The mother usually carries one to five or even six young animals. After about six weeks, the baby will be born. What is special about brown hares is that they can become pregnant again during pregnancy. The expectant mother then carries young animals of different ages. A female gives birth to up to three times a year. It is said to throw up to three times.
The newborns already have fur. They can be seen and weigh about 100 to 150 grams. That’s as much or a little more than a bar of chocolate. They can run away immediately, which is why they are called “precocial”. They spend most of the day alone, but they stay close. The mother visits them twice a day and gives them milk to drink. So they are suckled.
The brown hare is multiplying very rapidly, but its population is endangered here. This comes from agriculture, among other things, which disputes the habitats of the hare. The rabbit needs bushes and unkempt areas. It cannot live and multiply in a huge field of wheat. The poison that many farmers use also makes the rabbits sick. Roads are another major hazard for rabbits: many animals are run over by cars. Rabbits can live up to 12 years, but about half of the rabbits do not live longer than a year.