Brown Hare – Lepus europaeus
Another reason is that there now appears to be many more foxes in the countryside than there were a hundred years ago. Hare shooting still occurs in areas where hares are common and where farms want to reduce crop damage. Hare hunting with beagles and harriers used to occur throughout Britain, and hare coursing events were run by several coursing clubs, but these are now illegal (since Hunting Act 2002) in the UK; hare coursing, though controlled, is still legal in Ireland. Hares are very often poached, particularly with lurchers cross-bred from collies and greyhounds.
Very long black-tipped ears. Long limbs and powerful hind legs. Red-brown fur, with orange-brown flanks and a black-topped tail. Yellow flecking to the fur. Thick, downy undercoat and long, coarse hair on top. Eyes are a dark, rich amber colour in young, which lightens with age. Head and body length 55cm. Adult weight 3.7kg (females) and 3.3kg (males).
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Footprints: Their footprints are distinctive by the position of their feet. Their long hind feet are parallel and the fore feet are often between them, depending on speed of travel. Width 2.5cm, length 3.5cm.
Droppings: Brown hare often leave droppings on bare ground, farmland and edges of grassland. They are larger and more flattened than the rabbit (1.5cm-2cm in diameter). They can vary, depending on the diet. Colour: greenish brown. Smell: sweet, like a damp digestive biscuit with a hint of mown hay.
Mountain hare (Lepus timidus)
Shorter ears than brown hare. Eyes brown whilst brown hare has amber eyes. Mountain hare has pale grey body colour in summer, or white in winter, with tail all white, whilst brown hare is brown with orange/brown sides all year round and a black top to the tail.
Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)
Rabbit is smaller than the brown hare, with shorter limbs. Ears are shorter and lack the black tips that the brown hare has. Rabbits have brown eyes, whilst the hare has distinctive amber eyes.