Hare’s a quiz just waiting for somebunny to hop to it.

Now that you’re all ears, let’s discuss rabbits and hares in the Bay watershed.

Despite their having incisors that continue to grow throughout their life, rabbits and hares are not rodents, but belong to the order Lagomorpha (which means hare-shaped animal) and are the only two members of the Leporidae family.

Leporids have long ears, long hind legs and bulging eyes that are situated on the sides of their heads and allow these creatures a wide range of vision. All of these characteristics help these animals to escape predators, which include coyotes, weasels, minks, skunks, cats, dogs, foxes, bobcats, hawks, owls, snakes and humans or basically, almost every carnivore large enough to eat it. A nocturnal nosher, a rabbit or hare’s diet is typically 90 percent grass, although they will eat almost any form of vegetation.

Unlike most other mammals, leporid females are generally larger than the males.

Now that you know how rabbits and hares are alike, can you help to tell them apart

A. Hare

B. Rabbit

1. Which creature tends to have both longer ears and hind legs? Because of this, it is more likely to try to outrun a predator, while the other creature will attempt to evade an enemy by trying to take cover in dense vegetation or another hiding spot.

2. Which young are able to fend for themselves within hours of birth?

3. Which mother will pluck the fur from her breast to her belly to line her babies’ nest and make her nipples more accessible?

4. Which is the generally more social creature?

5. Match up these species of rabbits and hares found in the Bay watershed with their descriptions.
A. Eastern Cottontail
B. European Hare
C. European Rabbit
D. Marsh Rabbit
E. New England Cottontail
F. Snowshoe Hare

s This creature turns white in the winter if it lives in a habitat that gets snow during that season. This white pelage may be mottled with brown, though, and the the tips of its ears remain black.

n This creature gives birth to more than six litters in a year, each with four to 12 young. It is a pest in agricultural areas, and its extensive burrows, called x warrens, can pose a threat to the xffoundations of nearby structures.

H Populations of this meadow creature rise when forests are cleared for agriculture and decline in areas where forests are once again taking over. Because most of its diet consists of grass, it does well in suburbs with their smorgasbord of lawns.

u This animal’s habitat is restricted to swamps and marshes. When it is threatened, it is able to take cover in the water, where it floats, with only its nose and eyes visible.

6 This is the critter that gave birth to the Easter Bunny legend. When it is being chased, it can leap over 5-foot obstacles and leap 12 feet in a single bound.

§ This creature rarely emerges from cover and is rarely seen. It is more likely to live in a dense woods or mountainous area than its meadow-loving cousin, which is almost identical in appearance.

Kathleen A. Gaskell, the layout & design editor for the Bay Journal, has been involved with several environmental programs for children.


1-A 2-A 3-B 4-B 5: A-H B-6 C-n D-u E-§ F-s
In A Family Way: 1. Doe 2. Buck 3. Kitten or Bunny 4. Leveret