Many people are not aware that there is a difference between rabbits and hares. In reality though, rabbits and hares are distinctly separate species. This article will attempt to point out the main differences and similarities between rabbits and hares.
Unlike rabbits, wild hares have never been domesticated. Hares are typically larger, stronger and faster than rabbits. They have larger feet and ears and they often bear distinct black markings on their fur. Hares give birth to young that are covered and fur and have their eyes open. In contrast, rabbits give birth to hairless, blind babies. Hunters, who have been known to kill both rabbits and hares for their meat, say that hairs have meat that is stronger tasting and more gamey, unlike a rabbit which is often said to have milder taste, similar to that of chicken.
One major difference between the two species is in the way to two interact with other members of their species. Rabbits are highly social animals; they live in dens called warrens or burrows that they share with any number of other rabbits. Rabbits will compete with and even fight other male rabbits to establish a position of dominance and to attain mating rights. This is in contrast to hares who generally lead solitary lives. They will find a female only to mate with and then go their separate ways once again. There is no fighting between male hares; they simply choose a female mate and get on with it.
Rabbits and hares also have slightly different tastes in food. Rabbits prefer soft green foods like stems of grass and other vegetables, while hares prefer to gnaw on hard wood, bark and twigs.
Rabbits and hares are similar in that they both are prolific breeders. They are also both valued as game by hunters, and detested by farmers as pests. Also, both hares and rabbits have relatively short lifespans in the wild; most live for around a year or less.
Hopefully this article was helpful in informing you on the differences between hares and rabbits. Now, when someone uses the words interchangeably, you can be the teacher and let them know the difference!