In detail

Rabbits and rabbits: commonality and difference


Colloquially, rabbits and rabbits are often equated, in reality they are different types of animals. They only have one family in common: the rabbit-like ones. This is comparable to humans and chimpanzees, both of which are primates, but still represent different subspecies. But how do you recognize the difference between the two long ears? "Allow me, my name is Hase, also known as Meister Lampe", is the description of this pretty brown hare - Shutterstock / Soru Epotok

When rabbits and rabbits are fully grown, the difference can be easily recognized. Brown hares are significantly larger than wild rabbits, look slimmer overall and have longer ears. However, the animals also have very different lifestyles.

Common family of rabbits and hares

But first of all about the similarities of rabbits and rabbits: their distant relationship. The rabbit-like, like primates and rodents, belong to the higher mammals. The primates include monkeys, which also include humans, chimpanzees and gorillas. Rodents include guinea pigs, chinchillas, mice, rats, beavers and hamsters. Contrary to a common misconception, rabbits and rabbits are not rodents. Their diet may have similarities (rabbits, guinea pigs and rabbits both eat purely vegan), but they eat their food in different ways. Rabbits make lateral, circular jaw movements to shred their branches and grasses. Rodents can hold their food with their front paws and grind it with their mouths by moving back and forth.

The order of the hare-like can be divided into two families: the hare (Leporidae) and the whistle hare (Ochotonidae). Wild rabbits and hares are both Leporidae, but are different subspecies within this family. They cannot mate with each other, a cross between the two species is not possible - just as with humans and gorillas.

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Difference in the appearance of the rabbit-like

Brown hares are almost twice the size of wild rabbits. With a body length between 50 and 70 centimeters, they can weigh four to seven kilograms - about as much as a cat. Wild rabbits are only 25 to 40 centimeters long and only weigh one to three kilograms. In addition, brown hares look slimmer and elongated than wild rabbits, whose body is more rounded and compact. The spoons - the ears of the rabbit-like - also differ. The brown hare is longer than its head and has black tips. Wild rabbits have much shorter spoons without black ear tips.

In addition, wild rabbits often have dark, almost black button eyes, while the pupils of the brown hare stand out clearly from the light brown iris. The difference in coat color is there, but not easy to see at first glance. Brown hares look more earthy, the brown of the wild rabbits is slightly gray.

Rabbits live differently than rabbits

European hares and wild rabbits have very different habitats and habits. It starts with the birth. While rabbits are nest stools and are born blind, deaf and naked after a gestation period of around 30 days, rabbits are nest escapees. Similar to guinea pig babies, rabbit cubs are born with fur, open eyes and fully developed hearing. The nest stools remain hidden for several weeks in the rabbit hole, snuggled up warmly and protected from predators until they are large enough to hop out by themselves and carefully go exploring. The nest refugees are born in an open field in a grass or earth trough - the so-called Sasse. Once a day the mother comes over to suckle, otherwise the mini bunnies are on their own and quickly run into hiding when a danger arises.

European hares are loners and come together only for mating, wild rabbits are pack animals that live together in larger groups. In contrast to rabbits, rabbits are not kept as pets and are also protected. A wide variety of domestic rabbit breeds, which can be of different sizes, were bred from wild rabbits; sometimes larger than brown hare. However, they all have wild rabbits as ancestors and have the same needs. For them, keeping single animals is cruelty to animals and they need hiding places - in the wild they are short-distance sprinters and quickly escape into their burrows. Brown hares have a longer stamina and also flee over longer distances due to their breathtaking speed.