Brown hares

 

Brown hares

DOWN ON THE FARM

Brown hares (aka European hares) if left to their own devices live a mainly peaceful existence hopping around the beautiful British countryside. These stunning little herbivorous feed on grasses, herbs, twigs, buds, bark and field crops. They rely on heighten senses to detect predators and if disturbed can reach speeds of up to 45mph using their powerful long limbs.

The brown hares iconic long, black-tipped ears and large sensitive nostrils give them amazing sense of hearing and smell so getting close enough for photographs without disturbing them can be tricky at the best of times. Any wrong move and they’re gone at the speed of light.

They prefer a varied landscape of farmland and woodlands providing them with plenty of food, a place to rest and take cover. They shelter in ‘forms’, which are shallow depressions in the ground. The easiest way to spot one is in open fields when crops are low or have just been harvested. They often use farming vehicle tracks to navigate the rural landscape.

Their beautiful fur coats, oversized ears and charismatic personalities makes them an absolute joy to watch and photograph. There’s no better feeling being sat out in the English countryside without a care in the world with one of these amazing creatures hopping around just metres away from you.

Sadly brown hares are still hunted in UK despite the bloodsport being made illegal as part of the hunting Act of 2004. Hare coursing involves dogs like greyhounds and lurchers set to chase and violently tear their victims apart. Human hunters follow on foot or in vehicles and will have bets with other hunters on who will be first to make a kill. These cruel individuals have no regard for wildlife, farmers livelihoods and the dogs used in this terrible act will be abandoned once they serve no purpose and can no longer keep up with the hares. I have personally witnessed this first hand and it breaks your heart to see the hares panic and run for their lives.

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