Resident Hares © Ann & Steve Toon
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Our thriving hare population was featured in BBC Wildlife Magazine.
We have a very healthy population of Brown Hare at Lower Fairsnape and we do everything we can to encourage them. The Hare can be distinguished from the Rabbit by its larger ears which have black tips.
They start to feed as darkness falls and are especially active on bright moonlit nights.
Courtship is something to see and can happen right round the year, though most common in spring. When the female is ready to mate she signals her receptiveness to the male by running past him, quickly flicking her tail from side to side, wafting her scent at him. He obviously becomes very excited by this and guards her jealously, chasing off and sometimes boxing with other males, hence “Mad March Hares”. Boxing does however happen all year round, its just that in winter it happens after dark when they are active and in summer is hidden by the long vegetation. Its also usually the females seeing off unwanted amorous males.
Gestation is around 42 days and they have between 1 to 4 leverets in a litter. There may be several litters produced throughout the year. Unlike rabbit young, the leverets are born fully covered in fur, with their eyes open and teeth fully formed, which is just as well being above ground. The female creates a new form for each litter, sometimes splitting up a litter into ones and twos, regularly visiting them to suckle and they are remarkably well hidden in the grass. Hares can live up to 12 years in the wild.
Click here for a Natural England leaflet on Brown Hares (PDF 156kb)
Click here for Brown Hares at Bleasdale, photograths taken by wildlife photogarphers Ann & Steve Toon
© Ann & Steve Toon