To the untrained eye some people might struggle to tell the difference between a rabbit and a hare: after all, they both have long fluffy ears, they both hop about, I mean what’s the deal? Well, at birth the differences between these two species couldn’t be more stark.
A newborn rabbit is altricial, which means they’re born bald, blind, and generally helpless; like puppies and kittens. Where as a hare is precocial, which means they have the use of their eyes, have fur, and can move themselves about; like ducks, horses, and cattle.
And we all know that rabbits can make joyful and relatively civilised pets - well civilised to human standards - but anyone who has kept, or I should say tried to keep a hare, will no doubt have a very different story to tell: for even hand-reared hares have an undeniable wild streak, which no amount of freshly peeled carrots or petting can soften.
This is due to these two animals having contrasting behaviour in the wild. One of the reasons why the rabbit seems so tameable is because they are innately sociable animals - even if they are having to put up with furless primates rather than their own floppy eared kind. When they’re with their fellow rabbits they act as a true collective, they’ll watch out for one another, make calls to one another, and if one runs, they all run! Living in burrows, it also goes without saying that they’re not claustrophobic, so a humble life in a hutch will suffice; as long as it’s definitely fox proof!
The hare on the other hand is the epitome of independence: they do their own thang. Although very rarely living in pairs, they mostly don’t want for company, and especially don’t rely on it for survival. They’re also strictly above ground animals too, so it’s no surprise that you’ve never heard of a ‘hare hole’ - or a ‘hare hutch’ at that matter.
If the burrow is the rabbits sanctuary, then an open field is the hares, as they’re idea of safety is room to run; and run they certainly can, reaching speeds of 40 mph!… Usian Bolt's fastest speed is a mere 27mph - no contest there then!
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