Belongs to: mammals

Compare with: rabbit

Brown hare Lepus europaeus

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Our native hare, looking like a rangy, long-eared rabbit

Habitat: grassland, open woodland

Widespread across most of Europe; declining in some areas, including Essex, because of loss of habitat and persecution


Sandy brown with white underside; long black-tipped ears; short tail black above and white below; up to 70 cm

Males fight for partners in the breeding season, rearing up on their hind legs and boxing

Graze and browse on grasses and leaves; in winter also eat buds and bark from trees


Young are born in a shallow depression or 'form', then are transported elsewhere by the mother

Up to 3 litters from late winter on; first has 1 or 2 young, later litters may have more

Figures in folk tales and superstition more than any other animal

© David Harrison