Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus)

Brown Hare © Darin Smith


Hares are most often seen in grassland and woodland edges. Hares shelter in a ‘form’, which is a shallow depression in the ground or grasses. When disturbed they can be seen bounding across fields using their powerful hind legs to propel them forwards, often in a zigzag pattern. In early spring, Brown Hares are seen more often as the breeding season encourages fighting or ‘boxing’. When the young are born, their eyes are fully open and are then left during the day hiding in the long grass until the mother returns during the evening to feed them.


Brown Hares graze on vegetation and nibble bark from young trees and bushes.

How to identify/track?

Hares are a golden-brown colour, with a pale belly and a whitetail. The Brown Hair is larger than a Rabbit, with longer legs and longer ears with black tips.

Did you know?

  • Boxing takes place between a female and male to decide if he is a suitable mate.
  • Hares can reach a top speed of 45 mph in order to avoid predators.
  • Since Hares do not hibernate they have to spend all year looking for food.
  • Hares spend most of their days hiding in shallow hollows in the ground.

Reserves where they are present


Others in the Mammal Family

American MinkBadger, Bank VoleGrey Squirrel, Hazel DormouseHedgehogHouse MouseOtterRabbitRed FoxWeaselWild Boar

Print out a copy of the Brown Hare Factsheet

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