Difference Between Rabbit and Hare

Rabbit vs Hare

One of the gentlest of animals, rabbits and hares are often confused because of similarities between them. They are timid and defenseless, making you wonder how they could survive a world full of enemies. Probably it is because of their speed and agility, and also because of rapid breeding. Rabbits and hares are so much alike that people cannot differentiate between them. To confuse the matter, scientists say that both belong to the same order of mammals, Lagomorpha. However, there are much dissimilarity between them that will be highlighted in this article.

Rabbit vs Hare Physical features

Hares are larger and also faster of the two

Hares have bigger ears and feet than rabbits.

Furs of hares have black markings on them which is not there in case of rabbits.

The litter of rabbits, called kitten are born blind and without fur, while the litter of hares, called leverets, are open eyed and have furs when born.

Hind legs of hares are very long and strong in comparison to rabbits.

Molting is seen in both hares and rabbits. They grow new fur every season during spring and fall. Brown fur of rabbits gets replaced with a grey fur while hares living in snowy regions become white during winters.

For hunters, hares are tastier and also have more flesh than rabbits.

Rabbit vs Hare Habits and Behavior

Rabbits have been domesticated since ages and are commonly seen as pets while hares are wild in nature and are not pets.

Rabbits live in underground burrows (except cottontail rabbit) whereas hares live in nests above the ground. Litters of rabbits live underground till their eyes are open while litters of hares are open eyed and can run from day one.

Rabbits are social beings and prefer to live in colonies. Male rabbits fight with each other for dominance and the dominant male mates with all the females of the group. On the other hand, hares are not so social and come together in pairs only for the purpose of mating. Hares do not fight with each other for supremacy.

Rabbits like soft and tender food such as grass and vegetables while hares eat harder food such as bark of trees, buds, twigs and shoots of plants.

Mothers of new born rabbits are more protective and caring than hare mothers. Their litter is weak and soft and to protect them, rabbit mother pluck their own hair to cover the litter to keep them warm and to protect them from enemies when they go out of the burrows.

It is amazing that nature has produced such delicate animals. They are rodents with large and sharp front teeth but are virtually defenseless and can save themselves by running fast on their hind legs.