The Rabbit Vs. The Hare. Is There A Difference?

By Joe Murgo

Published 02/20 2014 05:58PM

Updated 02/20 2014 06:30PM

Spotted by Jim Johnson
Spotted by Jim Johnson
Rabbit or hare? Aren’t they the same? Rabbits and hares have similar traits, but they are not the same animal. Luckily, there are a few traits that can help you tell them apart:

•    Body size: Hares are generally larger and faster than rabbits.
•    Ears: A hare’s ears are longer and tend to have black colored tips.
•    Fur: A rabbit’s fur remains the same all year, while a hare’s fur will change from a grayish brown in summer to white in the winter.
•    Babies: When born, rabbits have naked newborns, while hares have furred newborns.
•    Habitat: Rabbits usually live in burrows in the ground; hares stay on the surface among plants.
One species of rabbit you may spot in Central Pennsylvania during the winter is the eastern cottontail rabbit – and even if you don’t spot a cottontail, you may spot its tracks. It is one of the most common mammals found in North America and exists in the United States from the Midwestern states all the way to the East Coast. The cottontail does not hibernate during the winter and scavenges over the surface for woody plants such as twigs, bark and buds of oak and dogwood trees. The best times to see them are a few hours after dawn and the hour after sunset.

Have you spotted any rabbits or their tracks? Take photos and upload them to the Eyes on Central PA Mission on Project Noah! 

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