Mad as a March Hare – One of Britain’s’ Most Loved Animals

Spring is in the air once more with the onset of March, so what better time to think about one of the most favourite creatures associated with the spring time? The clocks will soon change, seeing Spring arrive in all of its glory and a sudden explosion of colour and activity in the natural world. Flowers will start to make themselves known again in all of their beauty – a welcome sight after a long cold winter, and in the animal kingdom we will get to see the natural world in all of it’s glory.

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Hares were brought to the country by Roman invaders originally. They are the same family as rabbits but can be easily be spotted as different by their longer, black tipped ears, and longer legs which make them very good runners, known to reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour! To spot a hare you would be best off visiting grasslands and meadows that are around the edges of woodlands. Hares also differ from rabbits in their social structure. Rabbits live underground in large social groups, whereas hares are much more solitary creatures, living alone in shallow ditches known as forms. Their young are very quick to adapt to their environment – hares are tough parents! The young are left alone for young periods of time so are born with a full coat of fur and open eyes. If you ever come across a baby hare you should leave it alone – it is likely that the mother is nearby and if you are there she will wait for you to leave to return to the baby – known as a leveret.

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Unfortunately, the population of hares has decreased a lot over the last century, due to changes in farming practices which causes habitat loss. Hedgerows are a crucial part of the hare’s lives, and hunting has added to the dramatic decrease in the population of hares. Many wildlife enthusiasts adore the sight of a brown hare galloping across the grass in the Spring – some like a lasting memory of this beautiful sight with a bronze wildlife sculpture from http://www.gillparker.com/ – Spring is certainly the time to get out and see these wonderful creatures. As the breeding season begins, those lucky enough to spot one will understand the phrase ‘mad as a March hare’! They leap across the fields and engage in boxing tournaments with each other! This is actually females attempting to fight off the amorous males!

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