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rabbits and hares


There are about 54 species of rabbits and hares worldwide. Hares are generally larger than rabbits, with longer, black-tipped ears. They mainly live on their own. Hares are born well furred and with open eyes, they can run within a few minutes of being born. Rabbits tend to be smaller and may be social. Their young are born blind and naked and remain in a fur-lined nest for the first few days of their lives.

Rabbits and hares have soft, thick fur, which ranges from white to brown. Some northern populations change their coat color from brown in the warm months to white in the winter months. This helps to hide them from their predators. Rabbits and hares have powerful hind limbs, which are longer than their forelimbs. They use their hind limbs for fast bursts of speed and for jumping and bounding. Rabbits and hares have long ears that they can turn in many directions. They have exceptional hearing and often communicate warning signals to others by drumming their feet on the ground. Rabbits and hares are unusual among mammals because females tend to be larger than males.

Rabbits and hares are found in grasslands, forests, and tundra regions. They are widely hunted for fur and meat and are kept as pets. Where they are abundant they can seriously damage crops and vegetation in natural landscapes.

University of Michigan Museum of ZoologyNational Science Foundation

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. "Leporidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 22, 2024 at

BioKIDS is sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative. It is a partnership of the University of Michigan School of Education, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Detroit Public Schools. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DRL-0628151.
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