Johnny Magory - Hare

Hare – Giorria

Young hares are called leverets. The life span is a maximum of 9 years. They are one of Ireland’s longest established indigenous animals and are much larger than rabbits with a more upright stance. Their eyes are large and set in the sides of the head allowing for a wide field of vision which is close to 360 degrees.

When running they have a top speed of 70kmp or 43mph and can change direction sharply to outwit predators. They have five toes on their front feet and four on their hind. They do not burrow underground but occupy ground surface dens called forms in sheltered areas of flattened vegetation under heather and long grass. They are native to Ireland and they have been present in Ireland as far back as 28,000BC. The hares are steeped in Irish legend/ folklore and Irish mythology as shapeshifters.

There is a legend that the Celtic warrior Oisín hunted a hare, wounding it in the leg. Oisín followed the wounded animal into a thicket where he found a door leading down into the ground. He went in and came to a large hall where he found a beautiful young woman sitting on a throne bleeding from a leg wound. He vowed to never hunt or eat a hare from that day.

The term “Mad as a March hare” stems from the fact that male hares will fight or “box” during March which is their primary mating season. Watch our short video full of facts here.