Spot The Differences Between Rabbits And Hares

While the hare is born developed and with a coat, the development of baby rabbits is slower.
Discover the differences between rabbits and hares

Although they belong to the same family,  rabbits and hares show very clear differences. Depending on the species, these distinctions can be stark.

The differences between rabbits and hares arise at birth. While the hare is born developed and with a coat, the development of baby rabbits is slower. Furthermore, until entering the growth phase, rabbits have reduced motor skills.

The habits of both mammals are also different. By instinct,  the rabbit seeks to hide in dangerous situations, unlike the hare, which tends to flee.


Differences between rabbits and hares

Rabbits and hares have several differences, from their physiognomy to their habits. Physically, rabbits have a more rounded head, wider  eyes, shorter body and legs than hares.

Size and weight

Hares are larger than rabbits, with longer ears and extremities. This characteristic makes the hare a better runner than the rabbit, which is characterized by jumping during its runs.

The rabbit’s body is plumper and its ears are shorter than those of the hare. Rabbits weigh, on average, between 1.5 and 2 kilos, reaching up to 50 centimeters in height in the case of larger species.


In turn,  the hare can weigh between 3 and 4 kilos  and measure between 40 and 60 centimeters. Some species, such as the arctic hare, can reach 70 centimeters in height.

hare in the field


Although the coat has different characteristics, depending on the species of rabbit or hare, some differences are easy to notice. Hares, for example, have black spots on their skin. Furthermore, as we mentioned at the beginning of the text, puppies are born with fur.

Hair change is also different between species. During autumn and spring, the hare from cold regions changes its coat for a white one. Rabbits, for their part, exchange their fur during the winter.

Habits that differentiate rabbits and hares


Unlike rabbits, which live in burrows, hares prefer open spaces. To protect themselves, they choose shrubs or nests built in the earth. These habits make hares more vulnerable to hunting.


Rabbits and hares are reputed to be great breeders. Despite this, the mating ritual and gestation period of both animals is quite different.

rabbits and hares

To choose a mate, the hare makes the male chase her for a long distance. In this way, it tests not only the male’s interest but also the physical endurance. When the female is not ready to mate, she faces the male, standing on her two front legs.

The gestation period of rabbits is 30 days,  as opposed to 42 days of gestation for hares. Baby rabbits are born with wide-set eyes, hairless and unable to walk, which makes the female an overprotective mother.


The hare is, by nature, independent and solitary. Rabbits, in turn, are used to living in patriarchal colonies.  Faced with dangerous situations, the hare flees, while the rabbit hides in burrows.

gray rabbits

Another important difference between these two mammals is that rabbits are easier to domesticate. Rabbit breeding is quite common, and it is common to find houses where there is a pet rabbit, thanks to the docility and obedience of this animal. Hares, on the other hand, are not used to closed spaces.

Similarities between rabbits and hares

  • Both rabbits and hares  are mammals of the lagomorph family.
  • They are herbivorous animals,  with an exclusively vegetarian diet.
  • They use their hind legs to jump, although the hare prefers to use them for running.
  • They are famous for being  great breeders. They can have four to eight litters in the same year, with three to eight puppies in each one of them.
  • Both are game animals, whose  skin and meat are consumed by man. Their ends are considered trophies in sport hunting tournaments.

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