Bounding mammal (in the family Leporidae) whose young, unlike those of rabbits, are born fully haired, with open eyes, and sufficiently advanced to hop about a few minutes after birth. The common hare (Lepus europaeus) is native to central and southern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; introduced into Australia, it has become a pest there. In North America the jackrabbit and snowshoe hare are widespread. Many other species occur naturally on all principal landmasses except Australia. Hares have well-developed hind legs, and the ears are usually longer than the head. Species vary in length from 16 to 28 in. (40–70 cm), without the short tail. Hares in northern latitudes are white in winter and grayish brown in summer; elsewhere, they are usually grayish brown year-round. Hares are primarily herbivorous.
Black-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus)—(Top) © G.C. Kelley/Photo Researchers, (bottom) Gordon Langsbury/Bruce Coleman Ltd.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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