Rabbit or Hare?

November 7, 2022


Hares and rabbits are lagomorphs and belong to the Leporidae family. Hares are generally bigger than rabbits. Hares are distinguished from rabbits by their larger size, longer ears, and longer hind legs. They also tend to live alone or in pairs in above-ground nests. Rabbits live in social groups. Their young are born blind and without fur, and spend the first few days of their lives in a fur-lined nest of up to 20 in underground tunnels known as warrens, whereas baby hares can run within a few minutes of birth. Hares are a nuisance in some parts of New Zealand, but do not damage vegetation the way rabbits do., whereas rabbits often live together in groups

Another important difference between hares and rabbits is the way their young are born: hares are born covered in fur and with open eyes, but rabbits are born furless, blind, and helpless.

The modern French word for “rabbit,” lapin, refers to a castrated male rabbit in English. Bunny (meaning simply “rabbit” or “a small rabbit”) comes from bun, a regional word used for both “rabbit” or “squirrel” in England going back to at least the 1500s. Easter Bunny comes from Easter Hare, a translation from the German of the term as well as the tradition—dating back at least as far as the late 1600s—in which a bunny brings eggs and gifts to children at Easter. Rabbits and eggs were both symbols of fertility and springtime that connected the religious and the secular at Easter.

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