Hares and Jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares less than one year old are called Leverets. Four species commonly known as types of hare are classified outside of Lepus: the hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus), and three species known as red rock hares (Pronolagus spp.).
Hares are very fast-moving. The European brown hare (Lepus europaeus) can run at speeds of up to 72 km/h (45 mph). They live solitarily or in pairs, while a "drove" is the collective noun for a group of hares. Their bodies are capable of absorbing the g-force produced while running at extreme speeds or while escaping predators.
A common type of hare in Arctic North America is the snowshoe hare, replaced further south by the black-tailed jackrabbit, white-tailed jackrabbit, and other species.
Normally a shy animal, the European brown hare changes its behaviour in spring, when hares can be seen in broad daylight chasing one another around meadows; this appears to be competition between males to attain dominance (and hence more access to breeding females). During this spring frenzy, hares can be seen "boxing"; one hare striking another with its paws (probably the origin of the term "mad as a March hare"). For a long time it had been thought that this was inter-male competition, but closer observation has revealed that it is usually a female hitting a male to prevent copulation.
The Patronus of Luna Lovegood is a hare; she first conjured it in her fourth year during the lessons taken by Dumbledore's Army, taught by Harry Potter. Nymphadora Tonks also conjured a hare Patronus until her love for Remus Lupin changed it into a wolf.
Behind the scenes
- In the Danish version of Beedle the Bard's tales Babbitty Rabbitty was replaced by Hare Hop, and such her Animagus is a hare.