For some this may come as a shock, but rabbits are a completely different species from hares! Rabbits and hares make up the phylogenetic family known as Leporidae, which is split into two groups: 1) the jackrabbits and hares of the genus Lepus and 2) the 10 genera of rabbit.
From what I read, originally the Easter “bunny” was known in Germany as the “Easter Hare”. So whether you support celebrating Easter with the hare or the rabbit, here is a little tour into their differences that few seem to realize!
1) Has been domesticated! This process is believed to have occurred in North Africa or Italy during the Roman Times. Today there are over 100 different subspecies of rabbit;
2) Has shorter legs than the hare;
3) Avoids predators by seeking shelter underground in burrows or by hiding beneath cover;
4) Baby rabbits are known as “kittens”;
5) Kittens, on the other hand, are altricial, meaning that they are born with their eyes closed and are virtually helpless for the first few days of life. They open their eyes after 4-10 days;
6) Gestation is shorter in the rabbit, lasting 27-30 days;
7) Kittens thus are born naked (or with little fur);
8 ) Almost always, rabbits live in areas that have dense covering or ability to form deep tunnels or that already has burrows/tunnels (many rabbits don’t make their own burrows and instead are opportunists that take already-dug-up-burrows);
9) Rabbits use covering for shelter against a present predator;
– Bunnies usually have their floppy ears down, which is typical of baby rabbits.
1) Typically is not considered domesticated;
2) Has longer legs than the rabbit;
3) Avoids predators by outrunning attackers. Some hares have been able to reach speeds of 45 mph (72 km/h)!
4) Baby hares are known as “leverets”;
5) Leverets are precocial, which means that they are born “a little more cooked”. For example, their eyes are open and soon thereafter they are more readily able to hop about in case danger arises (i.e. have more fully coordinated movement);
6) Gestation is longer in the hare, lasting 37-50 days;
7) Leverets are born fully covered in fur;
8 ) Most hares (except for a few forest-dwelling species like the snowshoe hare) live in wide, open terrains that have just a little bit of cover (i.e. vegetation);
9) Hares will use shelter to hide from predators during the day but will run out of the covering and “race” the predator if the pursuer is present!
– Also, according to Aesop’s Fable, the tortoise won the race against the hare, not the rabbit!
These species have many unexpected similarities, but I will reserve all of that for another Gabby Wild post!
For those celebrating the holiday, Happy Easter!
For to all of you, though, Stay Wild,