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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

European Hare (Lepus europaeus)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Lagomorpha
Family: Leporidae
Genus: Lepus
Linnaeus, 1758
Type species
Lepus timidus
Linnaeus, 1758

See text

Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares less than one year old are called leverets. Four species commonly known as types of hare are classified outside of Lepus: the Hispid Hare (Caprolagus hispidus), and three species known as red rock hares (Pronolagus spp.).

Hares are very fast-moving. The European Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus) can run at speeds of up to 72 km/h (45 mph). They live solitarily or in pairs, while a "drove" is the collective noun for a group of hares. Their bodies are capable of absorbing the g-force produced while running at extreme speeds or while escaping predators.

A common type of hare in Arctic North America is the Snowshoe Hare, replaced further south by the Black-tailed Jackrabbit, White-tailed Jackrabbit and other species.

Normally a shy animal, the European Brown Hare changes its behaviour in spring, when hares can be seen in broad daylight chasing one another around meadows; this appears to be competition between males to attain dominance (and hence more access to breeding females). During this spring frenzy, hares can be seen "boxing"; one hare striking another with its paws (probably the origin of the term "mad as a March hare"). For a long time it had been thought that this was inter-male competition, but closer observation has revealed that it is usually a female hitting a male, either to show that she is not yet quite ready to mate, or as a test of his determination.


Differences from rabbits

Hares do not bear their young below ground in a burrow as do other leporids, rather in a shallow depression or flattened nest of grass called a form. Hares are adapted to the lack of physical protection, relative to that afforded by a burrow, by being born fully furred and with eyes open. They are hence able to fend for themselves soon after birth; they are precocial. By contrast, the related rabbits and cottontail rabbits are altricial, having young that are born blind and hairless.

All rabbits (except the cottontail rabbits) live underground in burrows or warrens, while hares (and cottontail rabbits) live in simple nests above the ground, and usually do not live in groups. Hares are generally larger than rabbits, with longer ears, and have black markings on their fur. Hares have not been domesticated, while rabbits are often kept as house pets. There is a domestic pet known as the "Belgian Hare" but this is a rabbit that has been selectively bred to resemble a hare.[1]

The hare's diet is very similar to the rabbit's. They are also both part of the Lagomorph order.


Jackrabbit photographed at Replica of old Fort Bliss
A Cape Hare Lepus capensis

As food

Hares and rabbits are plentiful in many areas, adapt to a wide variety of conditions, and reproduce quickly, so hunting is often less regulated than for other varieties of game. In rural areas of North America and particularly in pioneer times,[3] they were a common source of meat. However, because of their extremely low fat content, they are a poor choice as a survival food.[4]

Hares can be prepared in the same manner as rabbits—commonly roasted or taken apart for breading and frying.

Hasenpfeffer (also spelled hasenfeffer) is a traditional German stew made from marinated rabbit or hare. Pfeffer is not only the name of a spice, but also of a dish where the animal's blood is used as a gelling agent for the sauce. Wine or vinegar is also a prominent ingredient, to lend a sourness to the recipe.

Jugged Hare (known as civet de lièvre in France), is a whole hare, cut into pieces, marinated and cooked with red wine and juniper berries in a tall jug that stands in a pan of water. It traditionally is served with the hare's blood (or the blood is added right at the very end of the cooking process) and Port wine.[5][6][7][8]

Jugged Hare is described in the influential 18th century cookbook, The Art of Cookery by Hannah Glasse, with a recipe titled, "A Jugged Hare," that begins, "Cut it into little pieces, lard them here and there...." The recipe goes on to describe cooking the pieces of hare in water in a jug that it set within a bath of boiling water to cook for three hours.[9] Beginning in the nineteenth century, Glasse has been widely credited with having started the recipe with the words "First, catch your hare," as in this citation.[6] This attribution is apocryphal.

However, having a freshly caught, or shot, hare enables one to obtain its blood. A freshly killed hare is prepared for jugging by removing its entrails and then hanging it in a larder by its hind legs, which causes the blood to accumulate in the chest cavity. One method of preserving the blood after draining it from the hare (since the hare itself is usually hung for a week or more) is to mix it with red wine vinegar in order to prevent it coagulating, and then to store it in a freezer.[10][11]

Many other British cookbooks from before the middle of the 20th century have recipes for Jugged Hare. Merle and Reitch[12] have this to say about Jugged Hare, for example:

The best part of the hare, when roasted, is the loin and the thick part of the hind leg; the other parts are only fit for stewing, hashing, or jugging. It is usual to roast a hare first, and to stew or jug the portion which is not eaten the first day. [...]
To Jug A Hare. This mode of cooking a hare is very desirable when there is any doubt as to its age, as an old hare, which would be otherwise uneatable, may be made into an agreeable dish. [...]

In 2006, a survey of 2021 people for the television channel UKTV Food found that only 1.6% of the people aged under 25 recognized Jugged Hare by name. 7 out of 10 of those people stated that they would refuse to eat Jugged Hare if it was served at the house of a friend or a relative.[13][14]

The hare (and in recent times, rabbit) is a staple of Maltese cuisine. The dish was presented to the island's Grandmasters of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta as well as Renaissance Inquisitors resident on the island, several of whom went on to become Pope.

According to Jewish tradition, the hare is among many of the mammals deemed not Kosher and therefore not eaten by observant Jews.

In England, a now rarely-served dish was potted hare. This was similar to the dish of Potted Shrimp which can still be found today in some specialty restaurants. The hare meat is cooked, then covered in at least one inch (preferably more) of butter. The butter acts as a preservative, and the dish is stored for up to several months. It is served cold, often on bread or as an appetizer.

Folklore and mythology

"How to allure the Hare". Facsimile of a Miniature in the Manuscript of Phoebus (Fifteenth Century).

The hare in African folk tales is a trickster; some of the stories about the hare were retold among African slaves in America, and are the basis of the Brer Rabbit stories. The hare appears in English folklore in the saying "as mad as a March hare". In Irish folklore the hare is often seen as an evil creature, principally associated with witches.

Many cultures, including the Indian and Japanese, see a hare in the pattern of dark patches in the moon (see Man in the Moon); this tradition forms the basis of the Angelo Branduardi song "The Hare in the Moon"[1] The constellation Lepus represents a hare.

One of Aesop's fables tells the story of The Tortoise and the Hare.

Famous hares in fiction

A Young Hare, watercolor, 1502, by Albrecht Dürer.

Three hares

Recent (2004) research has followed the history and migration of a symbolic image of three hares with conjoined ears. In this image, three hares are seen chasing each other in a circle with their heads near its centre. While each of the animals appears to have two ears, only three ears are depicted. The ears form a triangle at the centre of the circle and each is shared by two of the hares. The image has been traced from Christian churches in the English county of Devon right back along the Silk Road to China, via Western and Eastern Europe and the Middle East. It is possible that even before its appearance in China it was actually first depicted in the Middle East before being re-imported centuries later. Its use has been found associated with Christian, Jewish, Islamic and Buddhist sites stretching back to about 600 CE.[15]

Dreihasenfenster (Window of Three Hares) in Paderborn Cathedral


The hare has given rise to local placenames, as they can often be repeatedly observed over many years in favoured localities. An example in Scotland is 'Murchland', the Scots for a hare being 'Murchen'.[16]


  1. ^ What is a Belgian Hare?
  2. ^ Hoffmann, Robert S.; Andrew T. Smith (2005-11-16). Wilson, D. E., and Reeder, D. M. (eds). ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd edition ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 195–205. ISBN 0-801-88221-4.  
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Tom Jaine. "A Glossery of Cookery and other Terms". The History of English Cookery. Prospect Books.  
  6. ^ a b "Chips are down for Britain's old culinary classics". The Guardian: pp. 6. 2006-07-25.  
  7. ^ "Jugged". The Great British Kitchen. The British Food Trust.  
  8. ^ "Recipes: Game: Jugged Hare". The Great British Kitchen. The British Food Trust.  
  9. ^ Glasse, Hannah. The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy. London, 1747. page 50
  10. ^ Bill Deans. "Hares, Brown, Blue or White.".  
  11. ^ John and Sally Seymour (September/October 1976). "Farming for Self-Sufficiency Independence on a 5-acre (20,000 m2) Farm". Mother Earth News (41).  
  12. ^ Gibbons Merle and John Reitch (1842). The domestic dictionary and housekeeper's manual. London: William Strange. p. 113.  
  13. ^ "Bygone food quiz reveals pig ignorance among young". The Scotsman. 2006-07-24.  
  14. ^ Martin Hickman (2006-07-24). "Young diners lose taste for traditional British dishes". The Independent.  
  15. ^ Chris Chapman (2004). "The three hares project". Retrieved 2008-11-11.  
  16. ^ Warrack, Alexander Edit. Chambers Scots Dictionary. Pub. W. & R. Chambers, Edinburgh.

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HARE, the name of the well-known English rodent now designated Lepus europaeus (although formerly termed, incorrectly, L. timidus). In a wider sense the name includes all the numerous allied species which do not come under the designation of rabbits (see Rabbit). Over the greater part of Europe, where the ordinary species (fig. I) does not occur, its place is taken by the closely allied Alpine, or mountain hare (fig. 2), the true L. timidus of Linnaeus, and the type of the genus Lepus and the family Leporidae (see Rodentia). The second is a smaller animal than the first, with a more rounded and relatively smaller head, and the ears, hind-legs and tail shorter. In Ireland and the southern districts of Sweden it is permanently of a light fulvous grey colour, with black tips to the ears, but in more northerly districts the fur - except the black ear-tips - changes to white in winter, and still farther north the animal appears to be white at all seasons of the year. The range of the common or brown hare, inclusive of its local races, extends from England across southern and central Europe to the Caucasus; while that of the blue or mountain species, likewise inclusive of local races, reaches from Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia through northern Europe and Asia to Japan and Kamchatka, and thence to Alaska.

The brown hare is a night-feeding animal, remaining during the day on its "form," as the slight depression is called which it makes in the open field, usually among grass. This it leaves at nightfall to seek fields of young wheat and other cereals whose tender herbage forms its favourite food. It is also fond of gnawing the bark of young trees, and thus often does great damage to plantations. In the morning it returns to its form, where it finds protection in the close approach which the colour of its fur makes to that of its surroundings; should it thus fail, however, to elude observation it depends for safety on its extra FIG. I. - The Hare (Lepus europaeus). ordinary fleetness. On the first alarm of danger it sits erect to reconnoitre, when it either seeks concealment by clapping close to the ground, or takes to flight. In the latter case its great speed, and the cunning endeavours it makes to outwit its canine pursuers, form the chief attractions of coursing. The hare takes readily to the water, where it swims well; an instance having been recorded in which one was observed crossing an arm of 1 Julius Hare's co-worker in this book was his brother Augustus William Hare (1792-1834), who, after a distinguished career at Oxford, was appointed rector of Alton Barnes, Wiltshire. He died prematurely at Rome in 1834. He was the author of Sermons to a Country Congregation, published in 1837.

the sea about a mile in width. Hares are remarkably prolific, pairing when scarcely a year old, and the female bringing forth several broods in the year, each consisting of from two to five leverets (from the Fr. lievre), as the young are called. These are born covered with hair and with the eyes open, and after being suckled for a month are able to look after themselves. In Europe this species has seldom bred in confinement, although an instance has recently been recorded. It will interbreed with the blue hare. Hares (and rabbits) have a cosmopolitan distribution with the exception of Madagascar and Australasia; and are now divided into numerous genera and subgenera, mentioned in the article FIG. 2.- The Blue or Mountain Hare (Lepus timidus) in winter dress.

Rodentia. Reference may here be made to a few species. Asia is the home of numerous species, of which the common Indian L. ruficaudatus and the black-necked hare L. nigricollis, are inhabitants of the plains of India; the latter taking its name from a black patch on the neck. In Assam there is a small spiny hare (Caprolagus hispidus), with the habits of a rabbit; and an allied species (Nesolagus nitscheri) inhabits Sumatra, and a third (Pentalagus furnessi) the Liu-kiu Islands. The plateau of Tibet is very rich in species, among which L. hypsibius is very common.

Of African species, the Egyptian Hare (L. aegyptius) is a small animal, with long ears and pale fur; and in the south there are the Cape hare (L. capensis), the long-eared rock-hare (L. saxatilis) and the diminutive Pronolagus crassicaudatus, characterized by its thick red tail.

North America is the home of numerous hares, some of which are locally known as "cotton-tails" and others as "jackrabbits." The most northern are the Polar hare (L. arcticus), the Greenland hare (L. groenlandicus) and the Alaska hare (L. timidus tschuktschorum), all allied to the blue hare. Of the others, two, namely the large prairie-hare (L. campestris) and the smaller varying hare (L. [Poecilolagus] americanus), turn white in winter; the former having long ears and the whole tail white, whereas in the latter the ears are shorter and the upper surface of the tail is dark. Of those which do not change colour, the wood-hare, grey-rabbit or cotton-tail, Sylvilagus floridanus, is a southern form, with numerous allied kinds. Distantly allied to the prairie-hare or white-tailed jack-rabbit, are several forms distinguished by having a more or less distinct black stripe on the upper surface of the tail. These include a buff-bellied species found in California, N. Mexico and S.W. Oregon (L. [Macrotolagus] californicus), a large, long-legged form from S. Arizona and Sonora (L. [M.] alleni), the Texan jack-rabbit (L. [M.] texanus) and the black-eared hare (L. [M.] melanotis) of the Great Plains, which differs from the third only by its shorter ears and richer coloration. In S. America, the small tapiti or Brazilian hare (Sylvilagus brasiliensis) is nearly allied to the wood-hare, but has a yellowish brown under surface to the tail.

See also COURSING. (R. L.*)

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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Hare (Heb. 'arnebeth) was prohibited as food according to the Mosaic law (Lev 11:6; Deut 14:7), "because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof." The habit of this animal is to grind its teeth and move its jaw as if it actually chewed the cud. But, like the coney, it is not a ruminant with four stomachs, but a rodent like the squirrel, rat, etc. Moses speaks of it according to appearance. It is interdicted because, though apparently chewing the cud, it did not divide the hoof.

There are two species in Syria, (1) the Lepus Syriacus or Syrian hare, which is like the English hare; and (2) the Lepus Sinaiticus, or hare of the desert. No rabbits are found in Syria.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Simple English

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Lagomorpha
Family: Leporidae
Genus: Lepus
Linnaeus, 1758
Type species
Lepus timidus
Linnaeus, 1758

See text

Hares are mammals of the order Lagomorpha, in the same family as the rabbit. Very often they grow larger than rabbits. Hares are good runners, they often outrun their enemies.

There is a breed of rabbit which very closely resembles the hare.

Their diet (the food they eat) resemble what rabbits eat. They feed by grazing on grass, leafy weeds.

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