Rabbit vs. Hare Differences

The rabbit vs. hare differences to know

Many people find it difficult to differentiate the rabbit vs. hare differences. However, separating the two furry animals is simple.

If you are wondering how the rabbit vs. hare differences can help you with understanding these animals, we have made it possible.

Here is what you should know when it comes to the rabbit vs. hare differences:

Rabbit vs. Hare Differences


Physical features: rabbit vs. hare differences

We have many rabbit vs. hare differences. You can start by looking at the following

  • Size and speed:  The hare is faster and larger than rabbits.
  • Ears and feet:  Rabbits have smaller feet and shorter ears, while hares have longer ears and larger feet.
  • Appearance:  The hare has black markings on its fur.
  • At birth:  the young rabbits are hairless and blind (altricial), while the young hares have hair and can see at birth (precocial).

This means young hares can take care of themselves soon after birth.

Things to know: rabbit vs. hare differences

  • A young hare is called a leveret and a young rabbit is called a kitten, kit, or, bunny.
  • Hind legs: The hare has very long and strong hind legs than the rabbit.
  • Hair/fur: Both molt and grow new hair.
  • Tails: Both have short tails.

Comparison of Lifestyle and Behavior: rabbit vs. hare differences

Rabbit vs. Hare Differences

Hares are domesticated, while rabbits are pets. You cannot mix them together when you want to get a pet for your kids.

All rabbits (except the cottontail rabbit) live underground in burrows or warrens, while hares live in simple nests above the ground (as does the cottontail rabbit).

Rabbits are social animals and live in colonies. Hares live most of the time by themselves and come together in pairs for mating only.

Rabbits prefer soft stems, grass or vegetables. Hares eat more hard food: bark and rind, buds, small twigs, and shoots.


Both breed prolifically, bearing four to eight litters each year.

A litter of both has three to eight young and has a gestation period of about a month. They become sexually mature in about six months.

Comparison table for rabbit vs. hare differences

Hare Rabbit
Size Larger than rabbits Smaller than hares
Gestation period 30-31 days 42 days
At birth Fully developed with fur; open eyes No fur; closed eyes
Preferred habitat Open areas and prairies; Nests in small open depressions Trees and shrubs; Live in burrows dug into the soil.
Protection from predators Hares are runners; they run fast and prefer to bolt away from their predators. Rabbits prefer to hide from predators rather than trying to run away.
Diet Vegetarian Vegetarian
Kingdom Animalia Animalia
Phylum Chordata Chordata
Class Mammalia Mammalia
Order Lagomorpha Lagomorpha
Family Leporidae Leporidae (in part)
Genus/Genera Lepus Pentalagus, Bunolagus, Nesolagus, Romerolagus, Brachylagus, Sylvilagus, Oryctolagus, Poelagus



While rabbits and hares may look a lot alike, it is not new to note that the two animals are completely different animals.

Regardless, it is as well important to know that the rabbit and hare are both leporids. This means that they are the same type of animal.

However, these basic facts are not enough to differentiate the two animals. Below are some differences:

1.) Choice of habitat:

The choice of habitat is another way to easily differentiate between the rabbit and the hare.

The Eastern cottontail rabbits, which range from southern Canada down to northern South America, live in dens, which are usually borrowed by other species, such as the woodchucks.

Wild European rabbits are known to live in complex burrow systems, which are called warrens.

Warrens may be close to ten feet deep and about 150 feet long.

The hares usually live above ground and make their homes in hollow logs or simple nests. They are able to create these by simply tromping down grass and vegetation.


2.) Offsprings:

For the rabbit, the gestation period is longer than that of the hare. Throughout the year, the hare tends to have fewer litters.

Baby hares are known as leverets. They resemble the miniature version of their parents with open eyes, fully furred body, and pretty much ready to begin to hop around.

After an hour or so of being born, leverets are able to live on their own and are weaned somewhere within two to three weeks.

Baby rabbits, on the other hand, are called kits or kittens. Unlike the leverets, they are born without any fur, blind, and helpless.

After a rabbit is born, it may take few weeks for its eyes to open and as a result, it is more attached to its mother during the first few months of its life.

In contrast to this, when a hare is born, it is immediately able to run around in a few hours.

3.) Speed:

Due to the size of their legs, the hares are able to run faster than rabbits.

This ability was developed as a natural defense mechanism against predatory breeds since hares tend to live in wider, and more open spaces than rabbits.

So, due to the need to get away quickly from predators, hares are able to run with great speed.

The rabbits do not run as fast as the hares so instead, they hide from predators when in that situation.

Despite the fact that rabbits are not fast runners, you still won’t be able to catch a rabbit in a big, open field.


4.) Size:

The hares are normally bigger than rabbits. So, if you see an unusually large rabbit, best believe that it is a hare.

However, there exists a breed of rabbits that are larger than the normal small breeds.

But there is still an obvious size difference between the hare and rabbit regardless of the breed of the rabbit.

More so, hares possess larger ears and legs compared to that of the rabbit.

Even despite the breed of the rabbit which may cause it to look like a hare, it will be very easy for you to tell the difference between a hare and a rabbit if you find them in the wild.


5.) Habitat:

Rabbits are known to live in burrows. Burrows is a complex system which is composed of underground tunnels or holes dug by the rabbit.

Unlike the rabbits which live in burrows, the hare usually lives behind hollowed-out trees and rocks.

As a result of the nature of their habitat, hares tend to be more mobile moving from place to place.


6.) Diet:

Hares are known to be big eaters of harder substances like plant shoots, twigs, and bark while rabbits feed on grasses and vegetables with leafy tops, such as carrots.


7.) Fur:

Throughout the year, the rabbits and hares will molt their fur.

Some hares are known to change the color of their coat like during the winter months, the hare can change to white fur.

The change in fur color is a defense mechanism from predators that allows it to blend in with the scenery a little bit better.

For example, the snowshoe hare, for instance, goes from a brown to a brilliant white come winter.

However, rabbits tend to keep the same color, but they change the thickness of the fur coat depending on the season.

8.) Domestication:

While rabbits can be domesticated and treated as pets, there are presently no domestic hares.

9.) Lifespan:

Determining the lifespan of rabbits and hares is quite difficult as there are so many different a vast variety of breeds of both the rabbit and hare which possess their own different lifespan.

Also, a lot of lifespan in the wild is usually cut short by predators.

So in general, a rabbit in the wild can live for about six years while a hare in the wild can live for about four years (with some having a shorter lifespan than this).

This is due to where they live and how easy they are to be preyed upon. Regardless, the rabbit and hare may live for a longer period if bred in captivity.

In captivity, a hare and rabbit could easily live for about twelve years. The shorter lifespan for the hare in the wild is.

Rabbit vs. Hare Differences

10.) Social skills:

You can easily tell a hare from a rabbit by observing their social skills. Hares are not social animals.

At most, you may find a hare running around with a partner. However, most rabbits are extremely sociable except for The Eastern cottontail that prefers solitary living.

When searching for food, rabbits usually move and eat in larger groups. Most rabbits live in groups of up to twenty individuals in what is known as a colony.

Knowing that rabbits are sociable, you should definitely get two pet rabbits, instead of one so it won’t become lonely.

Unlike the hares, you will discover that rabbits fight a lot more among themselves. In some areas, the male rabbit will fight for dominance.

Hares just tend to pair off during the mating season.

Below are few observable differences that will help you distinguish between the hare and Rabbit easily:

  1. While rabbits are domesticated animals and may be kept as pets, hares are not domesticated.
  2. While hares live in simple nests above the ground, all rabbits (except the cottontail rabbit) live underground in burrows or warrens
  • Rabbits are known to have their litter underground.
  1. Hares run around for protection rather than burrowing.
  2. Rabbits are very sociable animals, usually live in colonies while hares are solitary animals, and mostly pair off during the mating season.
  3. In certain areas, male rabbits fight within a group to become the dominant male. The dominant male rabbit then mates with most of the female rabbits in the area.
  4.  Amongst hares, there is almost no fighting — they just pair off.

Similarities between The Hare and Rabbit

Rabbit vs. Hare Differences

  1.  Rabbit vs. hare have a gestation period of about a month and are sexually mature in about six months, then they live in the wild for about six years.
  2. Rabbits and hares are valued as a game by hunters both for their food and fur.
  • Both rabbit vs. hare breed prolifically. They bear about four to eight litters each year (A litter of rabbits generally has three to eight young.)


Pros of Keeping a Rabbit

  • Rabbits are adorable
  • They can live 10 to 20 years. This means you can bond with them and have a lasting relationship
  • Rabbits can help you become responsible, especially for people who are willing to learn.
  • Their cages are simple to clean.
  • Rabbits are loyal.
  • They are very intelligent
  • They are social animals.

Cons of Keeping a Rabbit

  • Rabbits have a short lifespan.
  • Kids can lose interest quickly.
  • They can scratch and bite if not properly socialized.
  • They require where temperatures are too hot or too cold
  • They can be expensive and require vet care
  • Rabbits chew everything
  • Rabbits can poop 300 to 500 pellets a day.
  • Their cages need to be cleaned a few times a week.

Conclusion: rabbit vs. hare

Hare is not for home. They have their homes in the wild. You do not have to bring them as pets because they are not tame.

We see more rabbits at homes and shows. Rabbits are domesticated, adorable, and fun to live with at home.

However, if you are thinking of bringing a rabbit home, you need space. Rabbits need to stretch their muscles.

They need a good housing arrangement and care. They are social animals and can get lonely if left alone without attention.

Most people are advised to get two rabbits to help them live longer.  The hare is only used for comparison to differentiate it from a rabbit.

The two have their differences and similarities, but the rabbit is the pet. You should not make the mistake of using a hare as a pet.

The process of taming hare may be overwhelming. We have numerous places where you can buy or adopt a rabbit for a pet.

We must remind you that rabbits are expensive to maintain in terms of their health. While most hardly suffer from hereditary diseases, they need vet visits occasionally.

Finally, we believe you cannot mix up the rabbit and hare when you see them again.

We have listed some of the things you can look at when you want to differentiate a hare from a rabbit.



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