Rabbits and Hares, Running Wild

by Lin Stone


Table of Contents

1. Side Beside

2. The Precocious Leapster

3. Trouble Ahead

4. Rabbit PROBLEMS


6. Hare's The Rest


1. Side Beside



Rabbits and Hares



By Lin Stone

Side Beside





It wasn't so long ago, or so far away that people gave names to all the animals they knew according to what they looked like. Hares and rabbits looked alike to most people so rabbits and hares found themselves lumped together with strange names and distant relatives thrown in to keep them apart.


When Uncle Remus invented "Brer Rabbit" he was a rabbit; do you see him there in the forefront, in his Sunday best and digging for gold? Those short ears and curled legs in back spell him RABBIT indeed.


But, when Brer Rabbit syrup came on the market the illustrator didn't know the difference so he turned Brer Rabbit into a long-legged hare, furnished with long ears and long, powerful legs in back that could thrust him along at 40 miles per hour in open country.

Over the years hares have been called rabbits 
and rabbits have been called hares. 
But there are major differences.

For instance, Hares are born with their eyes wide open. But, Rabbits are born with their eyes squeezed shut. They are blind for days, even weeks sometimes.


Over half the rabbits in the world
are bedded down in North America.


Hares are born with their fur already on. They are born ready to dine on solid food immediately. But, baby rabbits are born with only a thin coat of short hair; they have to snuggle up to Mama for warmth. They can't even eat boiled spinach until they can see where it comes from. It's Mama's milk that will pull them through.



The hare is posing here on the left and the rabbit is there on the right.

Hares seldom build nests; they prefer to sleep on the ground, not in it. Most rabbits prefer to sleep in the ground, not on it. They dig holes and build their nests beneath the surface.


Is this all I've got? Oh, ho, ho. No , No, No.


You haven't even grabbed
a hare by the head yet!


Rabbits must be nursed and cared for by their mother for up to two weeks.

Even then they may hang around for months thumping for sustenance.


Some of those precocious baby hares may not nurse at all though. Baby hares are born fully developed, ready to move away from home before they are one hour old, just in case Mother Hare is suddenly yanked up into the sky by a Goolden Eagle.


Yes, hares are Precocial, which means they can begin hopping within minutes of being born.

Rabbits are Altricial, which means they are like human babies and must grow strong first and then learn how to hop.

Grab a hare by the head and he will usually begin kicking and scratching to get away.

 Grab a rabbit by the head and he will usually close up as if to hide. Only then does bunny Rabbit explode into action and quite often even then their violence is moderate and they are ready to subside with just a few loving strokes applied.

There are 32 species of hares, with kinetic skulls that might have migrated here from the moon. According to scientific Japanese traditions there is at least one hare still left there; you can see him clearly on nights of a full moon.


You might find a list of names for hares of use.


Abyssinian hare, Lepus habessinicus

African savanna hare, Lepus microtis

Alaskan hare, Lepus othus

Antelope jackrabbit, Lepus alleni

Arctic hare, Lepus arcticus

Black-tailed jackrabbit, Lepus californicus

Black jackrabbit, Lepus insularis

Broom hare, Lepus castroviejoi

Burmese hare, Lepus peguensis

Cape hare Lepus capensis

Cape hare, Lepus capensis

Chinese hare, Lepus sinensis

Corsican hare, Lepus corsicanus

Desert hare, Lepus tibetanus

Ethiopian hare, Lepus fagani

Ethiopian highland hare, Lepus starcki

European hare and mountain hare

European hare, Lepus europaeus

Genus Lepus

Granada hare, Lepus granatensis

Hainan hare, Lepus hainanus

Incertae sedis

Indian hare, Lepus nigricollis


Japanese hare, Lepus brachyurus

Korean hare, Lepus coreanus

Manchurian hare, Lepus mandschuricus

Mountain hare, Lepus timidus

Scrub hare, Lepus saxatilis

Snowshoe hare, Lepus americanus

Subgenus Eulagos

Subgenus Indolagus

Subgenus Lepus

Subgenus Macrotolagus

Subgenus Poecilolagus

Subgenus Proeulagus

Subgenus Sabanalagus

Subgenus Sinolagus

Subgenus Tarimolagus

Tehuantepec jackrabbit, Lepus flavigularis

Tolai hare, Lepus tolai

White-sided jackrabbit, Lepus callotis

White-tailed jackrabbit, Lepus townsendii

Woolly hare, Lepus oiostolus

Yarkand hare, Lepus yarkandensis

Yunnan hare, Lepus comus





Easter bunnies tend to be abandoned when their colored eggs are all gone. Sales prices blossom on every street corner. Ginger was a very solemn, responsible child so after she had promised to read the Bible twice then crossed her heart and hoped to die three times, we found ourselves the sole proprietors of a single bundle of joy,


Timmy Tammy Tumper, as he came to be known did indeed remain a bundle of joy. His precious antics were appreciated; Tumper preferred electrical wires on his Wheaties. He impersonated a dog on weekends, but he was gentle as a lamb when asked to play dolls.


Then a nasty old German Shepherd leaped the fence and pretended he was a coyote. Fur went everywhere. We told Ginger that Timmy Tammy would be replaced by the time she returned from school. Timmy Tammy Tumper #2 was perfectly identical to #1 -- on the outside anyway. It was that heart of gold we missed, After three days I accidentally whistled for the German Shepherd; Ginger didnt even ask where #2 was hiding. She did ask for another pet though; she wanted a full grown German Shepherd, just in case, she said. Just in case.


2. The Precocious Leapster


Has your mother ever told her friends that you were a precocious child? " Oh My! What have you done now? Why, you are ALWAYS jumping into some kind of trouble, aren't you?" Precocious -- whatever could that word mean?


Precocious is good enough to brag about, all right. It means your brain grasps the subject matter faster and you understand it sooner. It means you understand most everything sooner, and you get off the starting gate quicker, too.


Rabbits, on the other hand, must be nursed and cared for by their mother for up to two weeks.


"Mama, MAMA, where ARE you?"


Young hares are so precocious they may not need nursing at all. Why, some young hares are so precocious they are ready to go hopping around before they are even one hour old. Imagine THAT, if you can. There are coyotes out there, hawks, eagles too -- not to mention dogs, badgers, foxes, mountain lions, house cats, -- and alligators on one side and tigers and crocodiles on the other. Everything in the world is just waiting for more precocious children to leap into view.


Mother Hares may not nurse their young at all. With just a hop, skip and a jump they are gone. "Harry, HARRY! Where on earth ARE you, Harry?"


One thing's for sure! Harry has not disappeared down a rabbit hole. If Harry ever does get tired from having too much fun, Harry will scratch a shallow spot in the shade and lie there with nothing but his long ears shifting occasionally.


Would you rather be precocious or safe?


Baby rabbits don't go rushing into new troubles. They like the idea of staying at home with Mother Rabbit a little while longer. Baby rabbits want to be nursed and cared for by their mother, sometimes for months. Even then they may hang around, thumping for sustenance from the communal grazing area.


The hare's diet is similar to the rabbit's but they also enjoy twigs and bark. Well, isn't that natural? After all, that's why evolutionists finally removed hares, rabbits and pikas from the rodentia order, and placed all of them into the order Lagomorpha. Hares have jointed, or kinetic, skulls, unique among mammals although almost common in certain dinosaur periods. Hares also have 48 chromosomes (44 for the rabbit).

More than half the world's rabbit population resides in North America

Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, found in several parts of the world. There are eight different genera in the family classified as rabbits, including:


The European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Cottontail rabbits (genus Sylvilagus; 13 species)

Amami rabbit (Pentalagus furnessi, an endangered species on Amami Oshima, Japan).

Amami Rabbit/Ryukyu Rabbit, Pentalagus furnessi

Annamite Striped Rabbit, Nesolagus timminsi

Brush Rabbit, Sylvilagus bachmani

Bushman Rabbit, Bunolagus monticularis

Central African Rabbit, Poelagus marjorita

Desert Cottontail, Sylvilagus audubonii

Dice's Cottontail, Sylvilagus dicei

Eastern Cottontail, Sylvilagus floridanus

European Rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus

Forest Rabbit, Sylvilagus brasiliensis

Genus Brachylagus

Genus Bunolagus

Genus Nesolagus

Genus Oryctolagus

Genus Pentalagus

Genus Poelagus

Genus Romerolagus

Genus Sylvilagus

Marsh Rabbit, Sylvilagus palustris

Mexican Cottontail, Sylvilagus cunicularis

Mountain Cottontail, Sylvilagus nuttallii

New England Cottontail, Sylvilagus transitionalis

Omilteme Cottontail, Sylvilagus insonus

Pygmy Rabbit, Brachylagus idahoensis

San Jose Brush Rabbit, Sylvilagus mansuetus

Sumatran Striped Rabbit, Nesolagus netscheri

Swamp Rabbit, Sylvilagus aquaticus

Tres Marias Rabbit, Sylvilagus graysoni

Volcano Rabbit, Romerolagus diazi



Rabbit pelt is prized for its softness. Farmers in many areas of the world liked to have rabbits harvested because their appetites were virtually insatiable.


3. Trouble Ahead

Ear's Looking At You


Hares like to live in the open

where they can run from danger.


Rabbits like to live near tangled areas

where they can dig down and hide from danger.


If hares hear a strange sound they will stand up straighter so they can hear better and get off to a flying start. The long, long ears of a hare can turn in different directions.

If a rabbit hears a strange sound he will lay his ears back, over his back so they won't get hurt by brush when he runs away


Hares can molt to white in winter. But,

If you see a white rabbit named Harvey,

he was born that way, in March.


Hares have ears that are longer than rabbits' ears. Hares may rest beneath a bush while rabbits have been known to climb small trees to hide.


Because of their big front teeth, many people

believe that hares and rabbits are both rodents.


That isn't true either.


4. Rabbit PROBLEMS



Rabbits are great escape artists. Within hours of their release they revert to using their wild instincts. They are a known source of environmental disasters when given free access to open range. They arrive naturally equipped to eat virtually any vegetation known to man. As a result of their insatiable appetites, and the rate at which they breed, rabbits indulge in strip mining. When they finish grazing there is nothing left out there but happy, healthy fertilizer.


Rabbits can get out of hand quickly. Female Lagomorphs may produce as many as a dozen babies per litter. Some of them even breed throughout the year.


Hares don't have young until the year following their birth. Rabbits, however, can start producing their first family within 3 months.


An adult cottontail can raise as many as six litters a year, averaging 5 to 7 per litter. If all her babies lived and reproduced at a similar rate she would, at the end of five short years, have established an empire of almost 2,500,004,262 bunnies! Naturally they become a problem for gardeners and commercial farmers of other vegetation.


To eliminate the rabbit problem they resort to gassing, barriers, shooting, snaring, and ferreting. But the most effective measures are poison. Introducing diseases such as myxomatosis (myxo or mixi, colloquially) and calicivirus can also restrain the natural increase of rabbit populations.


Why Farmers Fail


The only way our Modern Farmers are able to survive is by accepting subsidies and other forms of charity. In order to compete with 3rd. world countries employing native manpower they must have some of those freshly-painted tractors and combines selling for $50,000 -- $150,000 each. To make a living profit they must borrow money from the bank, every year, to pay for last year's loss.


So here we are, borrowing money from the poor in order to give to rich farmers so they can live like millionaires and buy new farm equipment. This is a guaranteed way for any nation to go broke at a crucial moment. On top of that we have scientists declaring to all and sundry that gastric disturbances from cows and pigs are the substances disturbing global weather patterns, and consequently, that cows and pigs must be eliminated at government expense. The last time I was part of a governmental elimination program it paid us $2,000,000 to eliminate a mere 214 cows. Wasn't that nice of them?


But, what if the coin is flipped?


Let's start with a crop that is self-replicating; YES, let's start with rabbits. In Europe, where rabbits are farmed on a large scale, they are protected against myxomatosis and calicivirus with a genetically modified virus. This allows rabbits to frolic both day and night. The resulting population explosions mean that bank loans are not required to stay in business.

Farm machinery is not required because rows are not necessary. Just throw seed out and let the crops grow. No combines are needed because the rabbits do the harvesting. Why, you don't even need weed control because rabbits will eat anything out there.


In Europe, commercial rabbit crops are raised in cages. A healthier way of producing rabbits is to cage the land and turn the rabbits loose. Cage in 40 -- 160 acres at a time.


How do we cage the land? take a trencher and dig a trench around the area to be caged to rabbit-proof depths and put rabbit-proof wire in the depths. Rabbits will dig their own housing and there they will thrive. Harvesting will be similarly painless (for the growers).


Modern commercials can sell anything so changing taste choices will also be cost effective. However, it isn't necessary to change human choices. (a) We can parcel out the tribute we are compelled to pay other nations with fresh, clean meat. (b) We can fill dog food bags with rabbit products, or rabbit by-products. Cats will soon be demanding their own share. (c) We can flood the country with recipes for fresh rabbit. (d) We can set up to harvest excess fertilize.


Presto, Farmers will begin paying taxes instead of collecting subsidies. We won't even have to give them enough money to build million dollar houses with.


Aren't you glad?



Rabbit Meat is leaner than beef or pork

and even leaner than skinned chicken meat.


Riders of the Purple Sage thrived on rabbit meat, just as millions of Native Americans have for thousands of centuries. It is a nice clean meat and easily prepared. The flavor can be changed simply by adding something new to your recipe -- or by leaving something out for that matter. Buy your rabbit in the supermarket,


OR, start your rabbit out on the hoof. Removing the pelt is the hardest part. Here's how it was done in the olden days, after killing the victim >>> Drive the point of a very large and heavy duty nail through a stationary board or post so the point protrudes at least 3 inches. Drive the point of the nail through the throat from the rear so that it emerges just under the lower jaw.


From the hole at the throat start a tear towards the back. Insert both index fingers into the hole and pull apart. The hole will continue to part. Use a small knife to continue tearing. Pull the pelt down over the shoulders. Regardless of the season, begin searching for worms. These are usually a writhing white mass in the intestinal cavity. If parasites are present, most gold prospectors simply dispose of the meat far from camp and then they go back to prospecting until their appetite returns..


Prepare your clean meat as you would any small game.


Rabbit can be used in stews and cooked with dumplings. Most of your favorite chicken recipes can be successfully used with rabbit meat substituted. Chef Mark Bittman became almost famous by saying that "domesticated rabbit tastes like chicken because both are blank palettes upon which any desired flavors can be layered. However, rabbit meat is leaner than beef, pork, and it's even leaner than chicken meat." Emphasis added.


When legally restricted. rabbit products are generally labeled in three ways, the first being Fryer. This is a young rabbit between 4.5 and 5 pounds and up to 9 weeks in age. This type of meat is tender and fine grained. The next product is a Roaster; they are usually over 5 pounds and up to 8 months in age. The flesh is firm and coarse grained. The meat is said to be less tender than a fryer. Then there are giblets which include the liver and heart. One of the most common types of rabbit to be bred for meat is the New Zealand white rabbit.


Another source of income for rabbit producers is manure. Rabbits are very good producers of manure; worms love it but it must be diluted with water for them.

Rabbit urine is naturally high in nitrogen. This makes it a favorite for many gardeners.. Therefore applying it to the base of lemon trees, apple trees and roses makes them very productive. Remember to emphasize that your manure comes from homegrown rabbits, nurtured with extra high quality food


It is claimed that rabbit milk is also of great nutritional value due to its high protein content. Describing jackrabbit milk sparks eloquent claims to the power of 16 compared to contented cows. Track coaches might find it a virtue to supply their high- jumpers with extra an extra potion -- mmm. -- portion.




Where rabid fur haters are held in check rabbit pelts are sometimes used for clothing and accessories, such as baby moccasins, purses, ketches, scarves or hats.


Dry the pelt thoroughly, preferably in open sunlight. To tan the pelt place it inside a cylinder tumbler; an old cement mixer is perfect. The cheapest tanning solution is plain old Boraxo, as a dry powder. Just throw the pelt in and start tumbling.


Angora rabbits are bred for their long, fine hair, which can be sheared and harvested like sheep wool.

6. Hare's The Rest

Pikas are a form of mountain rabbits that scurry for cover under jumbled rocks.

Your Snowshoe Rabbit is a hare. 
Your Jackrabbits are hares. 
But the Belgian Hare? 
He is a rabbit.

Hares like open, grassy areas since they rely on their speed and agility to escape danger. 
Blacktailed Jackrabbits (which are also hares) measure about 2 feet long from nose to tail, and weigh about 5.5 pounds. They can leap 20 feet in a single bound, and 
they can run 30 to 35 MPH over rugged terrain.

Antelope Jackrabbits (which are not rabbits OR antelopes) are almost as fast 
as the American Pronghorn Antelope (which is not an antelope either).

They have been clocked at speeds of over 40 MPH, 
jumping as far as 10 to 15 feet at every clip.


On Your Mark, Get Set, GO!  

Dogs who have chased an antelope jackrabbit have been known to give up 
and not chase another hare of any kind for months.

As one hunter said: "I'll admit that Old Mercury has been left behind before, 
but never that fast!"


The End

All information about rabbits and hares comes from the author, Wikipedia or government pamphlets which are not or cannot be copyrighted, thus being part of the public domain.