What is Difference Between Hare and Rabbit?

There is much difference Between Hare and Rabbit, however, the taxonomic classification is key to determine how these two leporids differ from athletic morphology, long ears, and strong hind limbs. Likewise, we will also deepen the characteristics and behavior of both animals, such as morphology, habitat or reproduction among others.

Don’t you know how to distinguiifference Between Hare and Rabbitsh rabbits and hares? In this Expert Animal article, we invite you to know the differences between rabbits and hares, read on, some of the curiosities we mentioned will surprise you.

The family of rabbits and hares

The first of the differences between rabbits and hares are found when analyzing the taxonomy of both animals. As we have told you, rabbits and hares belong to the family of Leporidae ( Leporidae ) that has more than fifty species of animals grouped into eleven genera.

The hares are 32 species belonging to the genus Lepus :

  • Lepus alleni
  • Lepus americanus
  • Lepus arcticus
  • Lepus othus
  • Lepus timidus
  • Lepus californicus
  • Lepus callotis
  • Lepus capensis
  • Lepus flavigularis
  • Lepus insularis
  • Lepus saxatilis
  • Lepus tibetanus
  • Lepus tolai
  • Lepus castroviejoi
  • Lepus comus
  • Lepus coreanus
  • Lepus corsicanus
  • Lepus europaeus
  • Lepus mandschuricus
  • Lepus oiostolus
  • Lepus starcki
  • Lepus townsendii
  • Lepus fagani
  • Lepus microtis
  • Lepus hainanus
  • Lepus nigricollis
  • Lepus peguensis
  • Lepus sinensis
  • Lepus yarkandensis
  • Lepus brachyurus
  • Lepus habessinicus

The rabbits, however, are those animals that belong to the Leporidae family, except for species belonging to the genus Lepus. Thus, we consider rabbits to all those species that belong to the remaining 10 genera of the Leporidae family: Brachylagus, Bunolagus, Caprolagus, Nesolagus, Oryctolagus, Pentalagus, Poelagus, Pronolagus, Romerolagus, and Sylvilagus.

Differences between rabbits and hares – Habitat

The European hares ( Lepus europaeus ) are distributed throughout Britain, Western Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia. However, human beings have also introduced them to other continents artificially. These animals create flattened grass nests and prefer open fields and grasslands to live.

In contrast, European rabbits ( Oryctolagus cuniculus ) are present in the Iberian Peninsula, small areas of France and North Africa. They are also present in other continents due to human intervention. These animals dig to form complex burrows, mainly in forests and fields with shrubs. They prefer to live near sea level, in areas of soft and sandy soil.

Unlike hares, rabbits have learned to live with humans. They flee the cultivation fields, where their burrows are destroyed. These facts have unconsciously and inadvertently favored the colonization of rabbits to new areas.

Differences between rabbits and hares – Morphology

Morphology is another important aspect to consider when talking about the differences between rabbits and hares.

The European hares have 48 chromosomes. They are slightly larger than rabbits since they have an average length of 68 cm. They show a yellowish-brown or grayish-brown mantle. The inner part of the coat is grayish-white. The tail is black in the upper part and grayish-white in the lower part. Their ears measure around 98 mm and have black spots. A feature worth highlighting is its articulated skull.

There is no sexual dimorphism that differentiates females from males with the naked eye, in addition, in winter they change their fur, turning grayish white. They are athletic animals, which can reach 64 km/hour and make jumps up to 3 meters high.

The European rabbits have 44 chromosomes. They are smaller than hares and have shorter ears. They measure about 44 cm in length and can weigh between 1.5 and 2.5 kg. However, size and weight can vary greatly depending on the breed when we talk about domestic rabbit breeds.

The mantle of wild rabbits can combine grayish, black, brown or red tones, combined with a pale gray inner fur and whitetail. The ears are short, as are their legs, and show limbs much less powerful than hares.

The European rabbit ( Oryctolagus cuniculus ) is the ancestor of all domestic rabbits we know today, which exceeds 80 breeds recognized by the various world federations.

Differences between rabbits and hares – Behavior

The European hares are solitary, crepuscular and nocturnal. During the day we can observe them only during the mating season. These animals are active throughout the year, mainly at night, but during sunny hours they look for depressed areas of land to make the “bed” and rest.

They are prey to various predatory animals, such as foxes, wolves, coyotes, wild cats, falcons and owls. Thanks to their excellent senses of sight, smell, and hearing, hares quickly detect any threat. Then they reach great speed and are able to dodge predators with abrupt changes of direction.

They communicate through grunts, throaty calls and teeth grinding, which is interpreted as an alarm signal. Hares usually also make an acute call when they are injured or trapped.

On the other hand, European rabbits are gregarious, crepuscular and nocturnal animals. They stay in very elaborate burrows, especially large and complex. Burrows house between 6 and 10 individuals of both sexes. Males are especially territorial during the breeding season.

Rabbits are much quieter than hares. However, they are capable of emitting loud screams when they are scared or injured. They also communicate with signs, smells and by hitting the legs on the ground, a system that helps members of the colony to notice an imminent danger.

Differences between rabbits and hares – Food

The feeding of hares and rabbits is very similar because in both cases we talk about herbivorous animals. In addition, both carryout coprophagy, that is, the consumption of their own feces, which allows them to absorb all the necessary nutrients from food. difference Between Hare and Rabbit

The hares feed mainly on grass and crops, although in winter they also ingest branches, shoots, and bark of shrubs, small trees, and fruit trees. For their part, rabbits ingest grass, leaves, shoots, roots and tree bark.

Differences between rabbits and hares – Reproduction

One of the most notable differences between rabbits and hares can be seen after the birth of the offspring. While the hares are precocial (the pups are born fully developed, ready to stand up and perform the functions of adult individuals) the rabbits are altricial (the pups are born blind, deaf and hairless, completely depending on their parents). Likewise, there are more differences: difference Between Hare and Rabbit

The hares reproduce in winter, more specifically in the months of January and February, as well as in the middle of summer. Its gestation lasts an average of 56 days and the size of the litter can vary greatly, being between 1 and 8 individuals. Weaning occurs when celebrates reach the month of life and their sexual maturity reaches around 8 or 12 months of age. difference Between Hare and Rabbit

The rabbits can be played all year, but they usually do during the first two quarters. Gestation is shorter, with an average of 30 days and the size of the litter is more stable, between 5 and 6 individuals. Rabbits are known for their great reproductive capacity, as they can have several litters a year. Gazapos are weaned at one month of life and reach sexual maturity at 8 months of life. Unlike hares, the mortality of wild rabbits is around 90% during the first year of age. difference Between Hare and Rabbit

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