With their wild glare, swift turn of foot and secretive nature, hares are the rabbit’s mysterious and untameable cousin. Always a thrilling wildlife spot, the hare has long been a symbol of Britain’s sweeping, open countryside. Hares have also been associated with human culture and folklore for many centuries – their associations with spring can be traced back to the druids.
Focussing on our two British species, the Brown Hare (found throughout the UK and widely distributed in Europe and Asia) and its more northerly relative the Mountain Hare (found in Scotland, Ireland, Scandinavia and the Russian Federation), RSPB Spotlight Hares offers exciting and up-to-date information on these incredible lagomorphs, with chapters covering their biology, evolution, natural history, behaviour, including courtship rituals, and ecology. Information on some of the more charismatic species of hare found elsewhere in the world and on hares’ other relatives, the rabbits and pikas, is also provided. The author discusses in detail Hares’ interactions with humans, in agriculture, habitat management, shooting and hunting, as well as in more culinary matters, and reveals why this almost mythical animal of hill and meadow is so sensitive to the changes we make to age-old farming landscapes.
The presence and significance of hares in our culture is also discussed, including the Easter hare, Lewis Carroll’s mad March hare, and hares as shape-changers. Nancy Jennings also offers useful tips on where and how to see hares for yourself in the wild.