General information

What distinguishes a hare from a rabbit: similarities, differences and characteristics


What is the difference between a hare and a rabbit? Not everyone can answer this question. The fact is that these cute furry animals are very similar to each other. And it is not always possible to accurately determine where one is, and where is another.

Someone will say, hares and rabbits are one and the same, only the first ones are wild, and the second have been tamed. It's not like that at all. Both the hare and the rabbit can be wild. There is also a misconception that both of these animals belong to rodents. Yes, they love to chew carrots, but they are not rodents (like mice, hamsters, etc.). They have their own classification - these animals belong to the order Zaitseobraznye.

What is the difference between a rabbit and a hare? And what do they have in common? It seems that these issues concern many. Therefore, it is just necessary to understand. Let's get started

The similarities between them are not so much as it might seem at first glance. Appearance, similar physical structure, taste preferences, common dangers and enemies. And, perhaps, that's all. There are more differences.

Distribution geography

In the wild, hare can be found in almost every corner of our planet. The only exceptions are remote islands and Australia. The fact is that most of the earth’s territory was filled with hares due to the fact that they were specially imported from the European continent.

Rabbits are much less common. Their habitat is North and South America. Of course, they can be found in other places, but mostly as pets.


What is the difference between a hare and a rabbit? It would seem that they are so similar! But there are differences. Yes, they both have long ears, a short ponytail, fluffy fur and long teeth. But:

  • the hare is much larger than the rabbit,
  • the rabbit never changes the coat color, even in winter, unlike the hare, which begins to moult at the beginning of winter (at such moments, the gray hare's fur turns into snow-white),
  • the rabbit's ears are shorter, as he spends most of his life in confined confined spaces,
  • The hare has longer and stronger legs, since it is much more mobile than the rabbit, which prefers running to dig mink.

The difference between the hare and the rabbit is noticeable in the way they prefer to fight the danger. Hare fast and agile. And also very nervous. Having touched a wolf or a fox, he begins to run away. Hares are much faster than rabbits. It is all about the structure of the skeleton, namely the hind limbs. The hare has its hind legs much longer and stronger. However, he can descend from the mountain only head over heels, and the rabbit, which has a more proportional leg structure, will quietly run away from any slope. But in the direct distance, the hare will give you a hundred points ahead in speed.

Rabbits are quieter and more balanced than their wild relatives. They prefer to eat and relax. They can do it all day long. So if you have a rabbit, you can limit your diet yourself. These animals are very lazy, but not from shy. When danger approaches, the rabbit will not run away. He will quickly dig a hole and hide in it. Moreover, these animals are digging at such a rate that they simply amaze! Here he was, but he is not.

Breed, of course, and the rabbit and the hare. The difference here is in speed and quantity. Rabbit is very house. He will never live alone, only with his rabbit. Live and multiply, multiply, multiply ...

Rabbits bear offspring much faster than hares. Pregnancy lasts up to 32 days. In one litter, the rabbit has 10 to 16 cubs. They are all born blind, naked and helpless. And usually the first two weeks live exclusively at the expense of my mother's milk. The little rabbits are very caring with their offspring and absolutely intolerant and aggressive to other youngsters. They can even break the unfortunate misled rabbit to them. So without consequences, putting other people's babies to them will not work.

Hare - the exact opposite. He is an eternal bachelor. But, incidentally, to leave its mark on this earth is also not against. The hare progeny are not as numerous as the rabbits. Hares give birth one by one, maximum two babies. Cubs are born fully formed. They already have fur, they hear, they see and they can calmly eat even adult food. The hare leaves such independent cubs under the same bush, under which she gave birth. As a rule, give them some milk, which is enough for three days, bury in a hole and leave to the mercy of fate. And bunnies begin an independent life. If they are lucky, and the fox does not find their shelter, when they get hungry, they begin to issue infrasound sounds that are not heard for the hunter’s ear, but they are understandable for any hare running past. She immediately wakes up the maternal instinct. Zaychikha digs out hares, feeds them with milk and, like mom ... leaves. And so it is repeated with each, who turned out to be close to the representative of the female hare, who also recently gave birth.

By the way, hares and rabbits can not be crossed with each other. Many breeders tried to improve in this way the breed of domestic rabbits. But their attempts did not give positive results.


What is the difference between a hare and a rabbit? The fact that it can not be tamed. This is how it is. This is a real forest dweller and a wild animal who loves freedom. In ancient times, people tried to breed bunnies in order to acquire valuable fur and tasty meat. But at the slightest opportunity the animals ran into the forest.

Rabbits are tamed. And easy enough. Therefore, today it is not uncommon when one can meet this fluffy lover as a pet.

The main differences of animals

In fact, the difference between two eared animals is big. Even at school they explain for children how the hare differs from the rabbit externally, according to the process of vital activity and the specifics of habits. Being wild animals, hares can live in different territories: in the tundra, near the equator, in places with tree-handicraft vegetation. Here they have where to hide from enemies and what to eat. Exploring the oceans and new lands, the Europeans brought hares to many countries of the world.

Regarding rabbits, it should be noted that they already have more than 20 species. Most of all they flood North America and Africa. In Europe, it is also a very common type of animal. There are no wild rabbits on the Eurasian continent.

How does a hare differ from a rabbit in appearance?

On the appearance of the detachment of hare-like influenced the lifestyle that they lead. What is the difference between a hare and a rabbit? Similarity and difference are observed in appearance. Similarity - long ears, small tail, shape of teeth, powerful hind limbs. This leads to the fact that the animals are often confused. Many people are interested in how the hare differs from a rabbit, especially in what they look like. If you carefully look at these eared animals, you can see the following differences:

  • An adult hare is a larger animal than a rabbit.
  • Hares for the winter can change the coat color to the color of the snow, and in the summer they become gray again.
  • The extremities of two animals differ significantly.
  • Hares have strong and long legs, because they need to run and jump a lot. Rabbits do not need it, because they are always in a limited area.
  • Hares are famous for big ears, rabbits have shorter, delicate and compact ears.


What way of life does the eared animals lead, how does the rabbit differ from the hare in this regard? Hares by nature alone. In nature, there are no living individuals of this species. Females and males come together only during mating, and then scatter. Hares do not have a permanent residence, they change it all the time. It is a great pleasure for them to develop new territories and migrate from one place to another. Hares are afraid of people, avoid them. Hares breed their offspring under bushes or fallen branches, because they do not have permanent housing.

Rabbits lead sedentary lives. They make their own "houses" or dig minks. Here they live together with the family, gradually improving their home. Over time, they get a lot of moves in the form of labyrinths. Rabbits leave their apartments only forcedly, when danger is approaching.

Comparison of breeding

The breeding method of these hare-like animals also differs. The breeding of hares depends largely on weather conditions, so it is impossible to name the exact dates of their reproduction. In the European part, the breeding period can vary from March to September. Hares are characterized by high fecundity. At the age of one year, they are already undergoing sexual maturity. For a year, hares can produce offspring four times. 2-4 babies may appear at a time.

Breeding rabbits has its own characteristics. They can produce offspring all year round, because they live in adapted for them dwellings and comfortable climatic conditions.

The intrauterine development of the fetus of animals differs in terms. Zaychikha bears babies for 45 days, and the rabbit is 28-32 days (four weeks).

Rabbits are born blind, deaf, naked. The little rabbit feeds them with milk for up to 30 days. Only after 25 days the babies become independent. Hares appear almost formed, they can hear, see, covered with down. Only a few days they need in order to adapt to independent living. Immediately after birth, they consume the food of adults.

Care for offspring

The attitude of females to their offspring is a very important point in the characterization of these two types of hare-like. Since hares do not need maternal care after birth, hares do not show much concern for offspring. A few days the kids are not moving, and then jump in search of food. Within a few hours after the birth, the hare abandons her child to the mercy of fate. But what about breastfeeding? The hares have one unique feature - the young appear on the nearby territory of all the females at the same time. Any female can feed with milk other hungry hares. Zaychikha can not identify by the smell of their babies, as do other animals. This is the main difference between a hare and a rabbit.

The process of preparing for childbirth in rabbit begins in advance. They make a special nest out of their down for their future offspring. Their maternal instinct is developed much stronger, females take great care of newborn babies. The little bunny rabbit does not allow other young cubs to itself, it defines them by smell. Sometimes it may even eat someone else's offspring.

Comparison of character and behavior

Even wild rabbits are characterized by a calm disposition, they are easy to tame. This was the main reason why these eared carrot lovers became pets. They became the favorite pets of many rabbit breeders. Also, they are bred by connoisseurs of fluffy beauty, because today special decorative types of rabbits have been bred.

Is it possible to tame a hare? All attempts to do this were in vain. Bondage is unbearable for them. These are real wild beasts and forest dwellers. Any attempts to tame hares led to their escape. But the valuable fur and tasty meat of hares have always attracted people to themselves. Many lovers hunt for these eared runners.

Hares are characterized by special endurance and strength. They have a quick reaction, they immediately hide from danger due to fast running. One can only envy the sense of smell, sight and hearing of a hare. They are also called twilight animals. In the daytime, they are hiding somewhere, and at night they are awake in search of food.

Rabbits are more gullible, although they keep themselves wary. Sensing a threat, they freeze and look around. Then they try to somehow notify their kinsmen about the danger. It can be peculiar sounds or paws on the ground. Rabbits run away from predatory animals in a zigzag-like way and hide in a hole dug beforehand.

Do rabbits and rabbits cross?

Many wonder what will happen if you cross a hare with a rabbit. The answer is unequivocal - it is impossible. Outwardly, these eared animals are very similar, but in genetic terms - completely different. Outwardly similar anatomy is not yet proof that a hybrid of these two animals can be obtained. Different types of rabbits were never associated with crossing with hares.

Genetics do not allow these animals to be crossed: there are 24 pairs of chromosomes in hares, and rabbits - 22. There has not yet been such a scientist who could cross a rabbit and a hare. All efforts have so far been in vain and to no avail. one might even say that the likelihood of such a hybrid is even less than the monkeys with a man. If the hares are placed in the same room with the rabbits, then, apart from a hostile attitude, nothing will turn out.

What is the difference between rabbit meat and hare meat?

The differences between rabbit and rabbit meat are significant. It has a different taste and color. There are also differences in cooking. The hare's meat is of a dark red color, because this animal is hunted, and the blood does not have time to drain. The rabbit meat is a pinkish shade, because after slaughter it is hung up for draining blood.

Before cooking, the hare's meat must be soaked and pickled; this is not necessary for a rabbit. Zaychatina is a game, so some seem tastier.

Systematics and geography

According to modern classification, rabbits and hares belong to the same family - hare, but to different genera. Inside the genera there are many small taxonomic units, including such species:

Hare-hare, etc.

Wild (European) rabbit, etc.

All variety of breeds of domestic rabbits comes from the European wild. No other species has been domesticated.

Representatives of the hare genus can be found on all continents except Antarctica and Australia. Wild rabbits are found mainly in North America - more than half of the global population. In other parts of the world, they are less common.

Artificial delivery in the middleThe XIX century wild rabbits to Australia led to a local ecological catastrophe: the disappearance of some native animal species and part of the forest.


Another way to distinguish a rabbit from a rabbit is to observe the reproduction of animals.

They are able to bring offspring only in the warm season. During the rut, a single hare is often covered by several males, chasing her across the field.

In regions with a long summer, the hare is capable of producing offspring 3-4 times per season. Hunters can distinguish hares born at different times of the year. The April ones are called “nastoviki”, the summer ones are called “kolosoviky”, and the autumn ones are called “leaf-fallers”.

In the Arctic and other species of hares that live in cold regions, the number of litters is small - 1 or 2 per year.

Able to mate almost year-round. In rabbits, there is an extrusion - the onset of hunting several days after the hunt. This phenomenon is possible due to normal life.

The number of acrols depends on the habitat. In the Northern Hemisphere - from 3 to 5, in the Southern - up to 8 litters per year.

Rabbits and hares are not able to interbreed with each other. The reason - the difference in the number of chromosomes. Rabbits have 24 pairs, rabbits have 22.

Pregnancy in hares lasts 45-50 days. There are few litters - a maximum of 7 cubs, and more often 1-2.

Gestation in rabbits is shorter - from 28 to 33 days, and bunnies have many baby hares. The number of cubs in the litter sometimes reaches 12.

It is easy to understand how rabbits differ from hares by comparing newborn rabbits and hares. Rabbits are born naked and blind, completely dependent on the mother. Newborn rabbits are sighted, covered with hair, capable of moving independently and pinching grass on the 5th day.

Care of offspring

Watching the attitude to the offspring, it is easy to determine whether the hare is in front of us or the rabbit.

A few days before the rabbit is around it digs a separate brood hole not far from the family one. In it, she arranges a nest, laying it with its own fluff.

Up to 4 weeks the bunny barely leaves cubs. Strongly developed maternal instinct sometimes makes her show aggression towards other rabbits.

Zaychikha arranges a nest in the bushes, digging a shallow hole. Next to hares, she is only the first 4-5 days, after which she leaves them in search of food. From time to time the bunny returns, feeds his cubs with milk and runs away again. Sometimes hares feed up passing by other people's mothers, and increase the chances of offspring to survive, if the mother dies.

The main differences between animals

First of all, it should be noted that the Krolikov and Zaitsev clan belongs to the same Zaitsev family, which is the reason for such external similarity. There is a version that rabbits came from just wild hares, but the veracity of this statement has not been reliably established. Nevertheless, the offspring, habitat, social structure and human interaction with these rodents are different.

Dimensions and appearance

Hares are heavier (2 times on average), larger, but their torso is muscular and lean. Paws and ears are longer, often with black marks. Шерсть меняет окрас при линьке с белого на серый, в зависимости от времени года.

Кролики же меньше, но при этом более округлые и пухлые. Мех длинный и шелковистый серых и коричневых оттенков. При линьке кролики цвет не меняют. Так же хорошо развиты задние лапы, однако и передние также достаточно крепкие, так как используются для рытья нор.

The hind legs are one of the most important pledges of survival for both species of animals. With their help, the animal runs away from predators, kicks them for self-defense and warns their relatives about the danger. However, the difference in structure and muscularity affects speed. So, the maximum speed of the hare is 80 km / h, while the rabbit is only 20 km / h.

Vital activity

Both hares and rabbits are herbivores active at dusk. But this is where their similarities end.

  • Sociality. Hares - loners, do not contact with animals of their own or other species, with the exception of mating games. About offspring do not care. Rabbits live with their families with a strict hierarchy. Families tend to create colonies. Offspring care.
  • Attitude to people. Hares of people do not like and can not be domesticated, but the crawls on the contrary do not see a person as a threat.
  • Sedentary. The former do not have a specific place of residence. Constantly wander, housing is not built. The second ones dig holes in the ground, lead a sedentary lifestyle and constantly modernize their homes. Wild members of the Zaitsev family are active in the evening, at night, but quiet rabbits, for good reason, prefer not to get out of their holes.
  • Reaction to the threat. While the hare runs away at danger (good, there are strong legs and the complete absence of loved ones), the rabbit freezes as much as possible. If, however, to remain imperceptible did not work out, then before running away, the animal will begin to scream, pounding its paws on the ground, warning its congeners about the danger.
The everyday behavior and life priorities of such similarly visible representatives often have little in common.

Character and habits

Rabbits are not only easily amenable to domestication, but also have a very soft, calm character.

What can not be said about hares. Not amenable to domestication, not prone to collectivism. Perhaps it was the hare's inability to lead a sedentary life and that was the reason why they did not work out to domesticate them.

Is it possible to cross a hare with a rabbit

No impossible. Multiple attempts of amateurs and scholars have come to nothing. Despite the resemblance, the differences at the level of genetics (the hare has 24 chromosomes in the rabbit’s DNA and only 22 in the rabbit), as well as the nature, habits, habitat - all this does not contribute to the appearance of common offspring. Moreover, representatives of these two species most often dislike each other and are not even inclined to be around.

It is likely that the inability to cross some species among themselves is the key to the diversity of the fauna.


Meet the hare can be everywhere, except perhaps Australia and some other islands. But rabbits live only in North America and Africa.

For the latter is characterized by the construction of large underground tunnels, which can be compared with an apartment building. As soon as a new cub appears in the world, a new nook is immediately made available for it. The only subspecies in this group are the American wild rabbits that live outside the holes.

For hares so care about the places of residence is absolutely not typical. Most often they use abandoned burrows or may dig a temporary day. Where it will be located directly depends on the weather. In the warm season you can meet a hare in a sunny place, in the rain it will be in a secluded lair, and when there is a drought, it will prefer to rest in the lowlands. With the onset of cold weather, haystacks become a favorite place for lezhe.

Behavioral features

For hares characterized by endurance and love of freedom.

They are perfectly capable of living in the forest, have special skills that help to hide from the natural enemy - this is the ability to quickly run and jump.

In rabbits, the character is more docile, and it is quite easy to tame such an animal, so that it can be kept at home.

When danger arises, the rabbits warn their confreres with special sounds or the clatter of paws on the ground. Dug holes are an excellent shelter.

Subtleties care for young

The described species relate to their offspring quite differently. Zaychiha throws babies almost from the moment of their birth. Hares feed other females who find them. This happens because the young are born in many females at the same time in the nearby territory, and the babies do not have an individual smell.

Rabbits have a great maternal instinct, and they look after their babies. Preparation for childbirth begins during the sukololnost, which implies the construction of a nest. But if the rabbit meets someone else's baby, you can try to get rid of him. To feed other children for little rabbits is unusual.

Here is a different attitude of the females of the described species to the offspring.

Ability to run

Both animals flee from danger or predators by flight. But if the hares are known to be very fast, fast, frisky, then the rabbits are very inferior in speed. And the manner of movement is also very different. The first are excellent sprinters, and the second are much slower. They do not run, but simply move quickly or jump. Having noticed the danger, rabbits can freeze at all on the spot from fear. The reason is the difference is obvious: hares have strong and long hind legs, in rabbits they are short and not suitable for running.

Attention! The average speed of the hare is 70 km / h, the wild rabbit is 54 km / h, and the home rabbit is 20 km / h.

External distinguishing features

First of all, rabbits look much more massive, because they weigh much more. The average home animal weighs 9-10 kg. Rusak, for example, weighs 4-6 kg, and hares - no more than 5 kg. It is easy to distinguish animals by the length of their ears: in rabbits they are much narrower and shorter.

During the season of molting hares change the color of their fur coats. In winter they are white, and in summer they are dark. Rabbits also moult twice a year, but the color of the animals remains the same. Rabbits, both wild and domestic, are more massive by the constitution of the body. But the hares are elongated, skinny.

Behavior features

Many believe that rabbits exist only in domesticated form. But it is not. Wild rabbits also live in nature. And there they are actively digging holes. But the hares are not tied to a specific habitat, they often change the night, moving in different territories. Wild rabbits are fixed on a specific terrain and reluctantly leave it.

Breeding difference

Rabbits are very prolific animals, they give offspring all year round. Hares are very dependent on the conditions of existence, so they mate only during favorable periods when there is plenty of food, and the climate allows you to raise babies. In our latitudes, hares traditionally produce offspring from late spring to early fall. Duration of pregnancy:

A significant difference is noticeable in kids. Rabbits are born blind and naked. They are still attached to the mother for a long time. And hares are born already sighted, with short hair. Little bunnies are very independent, early start to lead an adult life without a mother.

As you can see, even though hares and rabbits only seem to us close relatives. In fact, they are very different from each other. And they have very little similarity.