Rabbits and hares are animals that can be very similar to those less familiar with them, but that immediately show a large number of differences upon detailed observation, and these animals are all part of the Leporidae family or Leporidae, but they belong to different genres.
If you want to know how to distinguish these two animals so similar, join us in this AgroCorrn article in which we talk about the difference between hare and rabbit and the characteristics of each of them, including images in which you will see the two animals and you will notice their clear differences.
Difference between hare and rabbit – summary
Let’s see, point by point, what are the main differences between hares and rabbits :
Size of hares and rabbits
It is one of the most obvious and easy to see differences: hares are much larger in size than rabbits . A hare can reach up to 70 cm in size, although it is usual for it to reach 50-60 cm, and weigh up to 4 kilos. A rabbit, on the other hand, has an average weight of around 2 kilos, and the common thing is that it does not measure more than 50 cm.
It must be taken into account, however, that there are species of large domestic rabbits, such as the giant Flanders rabbit , which can reach weights of more than 10 kilos, something exceptional.
Morphology: ears and legs
Both animals also present notable differences in their morphology. The ears of rabbits are much smaller than the ears of hares , which can exceed 11 cm in length.
The legs of hares are much longer and more stylized compared to rabbits, with shorter and rounder bodies. If you have ever asked yourself the question of, what runs more, a rabbit or a hare? The answer is simple, think of the traditional story: the tortoise and the hare. The sprinter was a hare and not a rabbit, and their longer legs and lighter body make them excellent runners, who can reach speeds of more than 60 km / h, although, of course, rabbits are also very fast .
Young rabbits and hares
Both animals also show very important differences in their newborn pups. Young rabbits are born at a very low stage of development: they are deaf, blind and have no hair or the ability to regulate their body temperature, so they are totally dependent.
The young hare , however, are able to move and move themselves very quickly, because they are born well developed. In addition, the gestation period of hares is 42 days, while that of rabbits is 30, hence this difference in development at birth. In the image below you can see first some hare hatchlings that are only a few days old and then other rabbits that are also a few days old and appreciate this great difference between hare and rabbit.
Habits and behavior
The main differences at this point is that hares are wild animals that do not tolerate living in confined spaces, while rabbits are domestic and wild animals , as there are currently both types.
In the natural state, hares form their nests in areas of flattened grass or at ground level. They live in open spaces, are solitary and protect themselves from predators with their greatest asset: their speed. Rabbits, on the other hand, are gregarious animals that form their nests and burrows underground, hiding from threats. For this reason, in natural environments it is much easier to see hares than rabbits. Additionally, hares tend to alert or communicate with each other with high-pitched squeaks or growls, as well as gnashing their teeth. Rabbits, on the other hand, are less prone to making sounds, communicating by tapping their feet against the ground.
After knowing the difference between hare and rabbit, we recommend you learn more about these and other animals with these other AgroCorrn articles on the Characteristics of land mammals and the Characteristics of wild and domestic animals .
Similarities between hare and rabbit – summary
As we have said before, although there are several differences between rabbits and hares, they are animals that come from the same great Family in the taxonomy or classification of animals. Therefore, there are also similarities between free and rabbit :
- They are lagomorphic mammals, of the Leporidae family.
- They have very similar basic physical features, although due to their size or shape they are also some of their main differential points, such as their ears and legs.
- Both animals are herbivores.
- They can make great leaps on their hind legs.
- They are large reproducers, capable of having up to eight litters a year and with several young per litter.
After talking about differences between hares and rabbits and some of their similarities, we want to indicate what are the main characteristics of hares :
- There are 32 species of hares, which are those that make up the entire genus Lepus.
- They are spread over the areas of Europe, Asia, North America and Africa.
- They are characterized by their great running speed and their ability to jump up to 3 m in distance, although their maximum speeds and distances vary depending on the specific species.
- In spring they carry out their courtship and mating rituals, which include fighting between males striking each other with their front legs, and later chasing females on the run.
- They are not domestic animals and, like rabbits, are consumed as food by many cultures.
To finish, we will talk about the main characteristics of rabbits :
- Rabbits are all members of the leporidae that do not belong to the genus Lepus, that is, to the genus of hares. Thus, rabbits have 10 complete genera.
- However, today’s domestic rabbits are all descended from the European rabbit or common rabbit , the Oryctolagus cuniculus .
- It is an invasive species in various places due to its enormous capacity for reproduction and adaptation, with Australia being one of the places where it has caused the most damage.
- Its different species vary greatly in size, but it usually measures between 30 and 50 cm in length in the wild.
- It is spread across Africa, Europe to Russia, Australia, South Africa and America.
- They avoid modern farmlands, which destroy their burrows, but adapt to other environments such as parks.
- In their diet, they sometimes digest food in two phases, making a first digestion whose excrement they eat a second time. These droppings that are not fully digested and eaten again are called cecotrophs and they are not always made.