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Difference between Rabbit and Hare

Rabbits and hares both belong to the same order, Lagomorpha and the same family, Leporidae. They look similar, so people often confuse rabbits with hares. Despite many superficial similarities, rabbits are different from hares in terms of their body size, shape and behaviour. Let us understand the difference between rabbit and hare by studying these animals more closely!

Rabbit:

Rabbits are small, plant-eating mammals in the family Leporidae under the order Lagomorpha. They have short ears and hind legs as compared to hares. They live in underground burrows except for cottontail rabbit which makes above-ground nests. Their fur-colour stays the same throughout the year.

The pregnancy of rabbit lasts for around 30 to 31 days. The newborn rabbits, which are called kittens, kits or bunnies, are born undeveloped, i.e. they are without fur, with closed eyes and are not able to regulate their body temperature on their own and thus they are totally dependent on their mothers at the time of birth.

Rabbits are herbivorous as they prefer to eat softer grasses and vegetables like carrots, broccoli leaves. In case of danger, the rabbits tend to hide in their underground burrows. They are social animals as they prefer to live in groups and thus can be easily domesticated and kept as pets, whereas hares tend to stay wild.

Hare:

Hares are found all over the world except Antarctica. They look like rabbits but are physically larger, have longer hind legs and longer ears than rabbits. They change their fur-colour from brown or gray in the summer to white in the winter. The newborn hares are called leverets. They are born with fur, opened eyes, and can move within an hour of their birth.

Hares are herbivorous as they feed on harder bark and twigs. They do not dig burrows as they build nests on the ground to live in. During danger, instead of hiding in their nests they tend to use their long, strong hind legs to run away from the danger. Hares are less social than rabbits, so they cannot be domesticated easily.

Based on the above information, some of the key differences between rabbit and hare are as follows:

Rabbit Hare
They are physically smaller than hares. They are physically larger than rabbits.
Their ears are shorter than hares. They have long ears.
Their hind legs are short and not as strong as hares. They have longer and stronger hind legs than rabbits.
Newborns rabbits are known as kittens or bunnies. Newborn hares are known as leverets.
They are born altricial, i.e. the newborn rabbits are born with closed eyes, without fur and need parental care to survive. They are born precocial which means fully developed with fur and opened eyes, so they require less parental care.
They have 44 chromosomes. They have 48 chromosomes.
They are social animals, can be domesticated easily. They are less social, tend to live by themselves so cannot be domesticated easily.
They make underground burrows to live in. They build nests on the ground to live in.
In case of danger, they tend to move to their underground burrows to hide. In case of danger, they prefer to run using their long and strong hind legs.
They prefer to eat soft grasses and vegetables. They prefer to eat harder bark and twigs.
Their fur colour remains the same throughout the year. Their fur colour changes from white in winter to brown or grey in the summer.
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