Large brown rabbit like mammal,about 65-70cm long
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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'?
OU Certificate in Contemporary Science
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.
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!
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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.
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!
Lat/Lng: 52.5, -7.8
OS grid ref: SF0815