No matter how much a hare and a rabbit are similar to each other, there are still differences between them. Not everyone will be able to name them, and not everyone will be able to distinguish one animal from another. We decided to fix this situation so that there was no more confusion between hares and rabbits.
Where do they live?
First of all, it is worth dealing with common misconceptions that apply to both animals.
- Many people believe that the rabbit and the hare are one and the same animal, but the former is domestic and the latter is wild. This is not the case, in fact, these are two different animals that belong to the same family. The hare can only be wild, and the rabbit lives equally well in the wild and next to humans.
- These animals do not belong to rodents, although they love to gnaw and do it regularly. A separate class is allocated for them - lagomorphs, therefore, they have nothing to do with hamsters, mice and squirrels.
Hares are common almost all over the world. They spread from the European continent through sea travel with people. Only Australia does not have these animals. But on this continent there are a lot of wild rabbits, which bring a lot of trouble to farmers. They are also a serious threat to the ecology of this continent.
Wild rabbits are most common in North America. There are also enough of them on the neighboring continent, these animals were brought here by the colonists.
But on the territory of Eurasia, wild rabbits are practically absent, all of them have become domestic animals. This niche is occupied by a large number of hares.
The difference between external data
At first glance, it might seem that a hare looks the same as a rabbit. Indeed, these animals seem to be similar in appearance: both have long ears, a fluffy fur coat and powerful teeth. But take a closer look, and the difference between them will become apparent. External differences are as follows:
- the hare differs from the rabbit in size - it is much larger;
- the hare is larger by weight - it weighs at least 3 kg more;
- wedge-shaped hare ears, very long, up to 15 cm, and rabbit ears are small (maximum 7 cm), with round ends;
- in the wild lagomorph, the head has an elongated shape with eyes located close to the top;
- rabbits have a round head with a central position of the eyes;
- a change in the color of a fur coat is uncharacteristic for a rabbit, and a hare, as you know, with the arrival of winter puts on a snow-white fur, which allows it to hide from predators;
- the rabbit spends most of its life in a confined space, because its ears are shorter than that of a wild brother;
- hares have longer and more powerful paws, therefore he jumps better, is more mobile and faster, but he cannot go down the mountain, but will roll head over heels;
- rabbits do not need such long paws, because for the most part they dig holes, and do not run, but this animal will deftly escape from any hill, because the limbs have a proportional structure.
For comparison and making a more objective assessment, we will give the average indicators of the speed that the animals of interest to us are able to develop. The hare runs at a speed of 70 km / h. A rabbit living in the wild can accelerate to an average of 54 km / h. For a domesticated eared eagle, the average speed will fluctuate around 20 km / h. The difference between animals that are so similar is striking. By such external signs, you can distinguish two representatives of the animal world that are similar to each other. But the differences don't end there.
You will be surprised how different these animals are alike.
Differences in lifestyle
The lifestyle of two representatives of the same family so similar is not the same. And these distinctive features are also required to study. The comparative table will seem superfluous here, since it will be difficult to fit all the interesting facts into boring columns and lines.
Rabbits love to dig holes - we have already talked about this. If the animal lives in one place for a long time, then tunnels form between the holes. It all looks like an apartment building. Both adults and young representatives of the species live in such large burrows. A separate nook is prepared for each new offspring. Only impending danger can force the rabbit to leave its home.
The only exceptions are American wild rabbits, which do not live in burrows.
These cuties live only in pairs, otherwise they simply cannot. But for hares, sedentaryism and collectivism are uncharacteristic. Pairs are formed for a while, just for procreation. They do not relate to their place of residence so reverently and caringly. Even for the birth of offspring, rabbits choose any secluded place that they like. Such animals can live in abandoned burrows or temporary days.
The choice of accommodation depends on the weather and the time of year. In rainy weather, they choose secluded places, and with the onset of warmth they like to bask in sunny meadows. In hot weather, hares prefer to spend time in the lowlands. For the winter, they mostly climb into haystacks.
The behavior of these animals is significantly different, let's look at the main nuances of the character of the animals.
- Hares are distinguished by high speed of movement and mobility, they also have a nervous, quick-tempered disposition. The rabbit is calmer and more balanced.
- If a hare feels danger, it immediately starts to run away, because its legs are stronger, longer and more powerful than those of a fellow. Its close relative will quickly make a mink and hide there from a predator.
- Rabbits love to eat and rest, they can do this even all day long, which is why it is so important for domestic eared ears to limit their diet.
- Rabbits are big sloths, they do not differ in fearfulness, they notify about the approach of danger by pounding their paws on the ground or special sounds. They run away from the predator along a straight path, quickly hiding in prepared burrows.
- The hare is for the most part nocturnal, it is not for nothing that it is also called a crepuscular animal. Therefore, these eared ears are rarely seen in the daytime.
- The hare runs away from danger along a zigzag trajectory, trying to confuse the predator and knock it off its trail.
- Zaytsev cannot be forced to live at home, they simply cannot live in captivity. People have repeatedly tried to tame these animals, which have always been valued for their meat and valuable fur. At every opportunity, the hares ran away into the forest or got sick and died in captivity.
- The opposite situation is with rabbits. They are easy to tame, and even a wild rabbit happily lives next to a person.
It is difficult to say for sure which of these two similar, but such different animals is smarter. We do not count the domestic rabbit, only wild animals are compared. It may seem to many that the hare is more intelligent. But if you look at the situation from a different point of view, then the opinion changes. We will leave this question for you to discuss.
Reproduction and care of offspring
These animals also breed in different ways. Hares need comfortable climatic conditions for reproduction. The hare reaches puberty at the age of one, and it can give birth up to 4 times a year. Pregnancy lasts 45 days, no more than 4 rabbits can be born. In spring and autumn, no more than two eared ears are born.
They are born already with wool, and newborns can also see, hear, and even eat solid food.
Rabbits are characterized by high fertility. Pregnancy lasts a little over 30 days. The rabbit can give birth throughout the year without interruption for the winter. The result of one pregnancy can be up to 16 rabbits. Babies are born without wool, they are unable to hear and see. For a month they feed only on mother's milk.
Rabbits can live like adults only after 25 days from birth.
Caring for offspring in rabbits and rabbits is fundamentally different. The representative of the first family abandons the cubs immediately after birth. Can leave them some milk and, having buried under the same bush, will run away. They can be fed by other rabbits who find babies after hearing the infrasound emitted by these fluffy lumps. After feeding, the babies are buried again and run away. This situation is associated with the simultaneous birth of rabbits in several females on the same territory.
Newborns do not have an individual odor, so hares cannot distinguish their children from strangers.
Rabbits have excellent maternal instincts, therefore they carefully look after their offspring. They prepare in advance for the upcoming birth, which is expressed in the construction of a nest from fluff and straw. For the most part, females do not look after other people's children, they can even get rid of the discovered rabbit. Bunnies have a unique smell, by which the female distinguishes her children from strangers.
It is not typical for these animals to feed other people's children, the rabbit can even kill them.
Is crossing possible?
No matter how similar these two representatives are, they cannot interbreed. The reason is the different genetic code. The difference lies in the number of chromosomes. The code of rabbits contains 22 chromosome pairs, and the genetic code of their close brothers contains 24 pairs.
Several attempts have been made to obtain hydrides as a result of crossing these animals. Breeders have tried to develop more resistant breeds of rabbits, but none of these attempts have been successful. Moreover, hares and rabbits show aggression towards each other.
For information on how to distinguish a hare from a rabbit, see the next video.