foxy's picture

IRISH HARE

Observed: 17th December 2009 By: foxyfoxy’s reputation in Mammalsfoxy’s reputation in Mammals
HARE
IRISH HARE
Description:

Large brown rabbit like mammal,about 65-70cm long

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

Gill Sinclair's picture

Irish Hare

I can see it has black tips to it ears, but they look quite stubby even for a mountain hare. Is that a characteristic of the Irish 'sub species'?

Gill Sinclair
OU Certificate in Contemporary Science
www.gillsinclair.net
Twitter @Gill_Sinclair

foxy's picture

Irish Hare

As far as I know yes,all the hares that I see around here would have short ears in proportion to their body size,but not having seen other than pet farm specimens which could have any genetic history I dont really know.

foxy

Foxy

the naturalist man's picture

Irish hair

The ears are not stubbyer on an Irish hare compared with a mainland mountain hare (in fact they are 5mm longer), though they are compared to a brown hare. The main differences are that the Irish hare is slightly larger, we are talking around 4cm nose to tail; not the kind of difference you would notice in the field.

Also Irish hares are a richer brown, rarely showing much grey and aften do not change colour in winter.

The biggest give away though is the hare is in Ireland!

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'
http://www.ispot.org.uk/forum/8411

foxy's picture

Irish Hare

I have added another photo showing its ears better ,but of course it had to stand in front of the only black object for miles :).
Maybe the black eartips blend into background better and seem shorter particularly when moving as a result. They are always this brown though particularly in Winter which might be more to do with a lower sun in the sky and resulting lighting.

foxy.

Foxy

the naturalist man's picture

Trigger for colour change

I suspect, though I don't know for sure, that the trigger is temperature rather than light levels or sun position. My reason for this is mainland mountain hares don't change colour every year, only when temperatures plummet and we get snow. Changing colour requires valuable energy, also from a natural selection point of view it would be 'suicide' to go white in a warm winter without any snow.

As Ireland is influenced by the Gulf stream you tend to get fewer cold winters, though I guess you might argue against that observation at the moment!

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'
http://www.ispot.org.uk/forum/8411