Not a common sight close to Otley, one of our committee members spotted one yesterday. They are largely nocturnal and shy, but sightings increase in spring, when they chase each other around in daylight. Most people are familiar with the saying “mad as a March hare”, but are less likely to know that their boxing matches involve a female batting away a male. They do this either to show that they’re not ready to mate, or to test the male’s determination. Unlike the burrowing rabbits, hares nest in a slight depression in the ground – a “form” – and so the young – “leverets” – are active immediately so as not to be vulnerable. Adults aim to escape predators such as foxes and buzzards by out-running them over distance (they can reach 45mph) – they have larger legs, hearts and nostrils to facilitate this (rabbits run in short bursts). They eat grasses and weeds, and like rabbits they sometimes eat their faecal pellets to recover lost nutrients. In the last ten years I’ve noticed a trend using hare images in home décor, which is fine by me.
Photo by Pixabay