Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. A hare less than one year old is called a leveret. Four species commonly known as types of hare are classified outside of Lepus: the hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus), and three species known as red rock hares (Pronolagus spp.).
Hares are very fast-moving animals; the European brown hare (Lepus europaeus) is able to run at speeds of up to 72 km/h (45 mph). They live solitarily or in pairs, while a "drove" is the collective noun for a group of hares.
A common type of hare in Arctic North America is the snowshoe hare, replaced farther south by the black-tailed jackrabbit, white-tailed jackrabbit, and other species.
Normally a shy animal, the European brown hare changes its behavior 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 (probably the origin of the term "mad as a March hare"). For a long time, this had been thought to be intermale competition, but closer observation has revealed it is usually a female hitting a male to prevent copulation.
Famous quotes containing the word hare:
“Our argument ... will result, not upon logic by itselfthough without logic we should never have got to this pointbut upon the fortunate contingent fact that people who would take this logically possible view, after they had really imagined themselves in the other mans position, are extremely rare.”
—Richard M. Hare (b. 1919)
“No humane being, past the thoughtless age of boyhood, will wantonly murder any creature which holds its life by the same tenure that he does. The hare in its extremity cries like a child. I warn you, mothers, that my sympathies do not always make the usual philanthropic distinctions.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“The hare grows old as she plays in the sun
And gazes around her with eyes of brightness;
Before the swift things that she dreamed of were done
She limps along in an aged whiteness....”
—William Butler Yeats (18651939)