Hare vs Rabbit


There are several important differences between rabbits and hares even though both animals belong to the Lagomorpha order of mammals.

Comparison chart




Genus/Genera Lepus Pentalagus, Bunolagus, Nesolagus, Romerolagus, Brachylagus, Sylvilagus, Oryctolagus, Poelagus
Kingdom Animalia Animalia
Family Leporidae Leporidae (in part)
Class Mammalia Mammalia
Phylum Chordata Chordata
Diet Vegetarian Vegetarian
Order Lagomorpha Lagomorpha

Contents: Hare vs Rabbit

A hare as depicted in a painting.
A hare as depicted in a painting.

Differences in Physical features

A rabbit (Eastern Cottontail or Sylvilagus floridanus).
A rabbit (Eastern Cottontail or Sylvilagus floridanus).

There are several differences in the physical features of hares and rabbits that allow us to distinguish between the two.

Comparison of Lifestyle and Behavior



Related Video

A good video of a brown hare and a rabbit seen together in someone's backyard. The differences between the physical characteristics of a hare and a rabbit are distinctly seen in this video.

Comments: Hare vs Rabbit

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June 8, 2013, 6:10pm

This was great we found a baby hare (I know its a hare now) and the question came up about if it is a rabbit or a hare.

— 67.✗.✗.118

March 29, 2013, 10:01pm

A Hare has a split lip .... thus the expression a person has a "Hare Lip"

— 68.✗.✗.68

November 18, 2011, 4:14pm

helped alot thx (:

— 69.✗.✗.3

November 10, 2011, 10:02pm

I had trouble telling the rabbits hopping backward joke to a teenager who is very intelligent (also has Asperger's Syndrom). Now that I know the difference between a hare and a rabbit, I can tell the joke about jackrabbits (technically hares) hopping backward and she will get it! Thanks so much.

— 97.✗.✗.170

January 30, 2011, 3:10pm

Regarding the previous arguments with two of the statements
1) "Mad as a march hare" refers to the notion of unpredictable behavior of hares during the mating season such as jumping for no reason, boxing each other and being generally unpredictable. It does not refer to aggression. A popular quote from a poen in the 1500's goes "Then they begin to swerve and to stare, And be as brainless as a March hare" and Lewis Carroll's hare was mad as in crazy not mad as in angry.
2) Bark is eaten by many animals and it is in fact nutritious for some species of trees. Deer and beaver are known to kill trees by stripping the bark. This isn't random gnawing behavior but actual browsing. It is not very nutritious but then grass isn't very nutritious either, which is why grazing animals eat so much.

— 173.✗.✗.215

April 1, 2010, 2:25pm

Without knowing enough about the subject to make any edits, I question two points: 1) that male hares almost never fight. The expression, "mad as a March hare," refers to aggressive behavior by the male during mating season, which suggests a good deal of competition, if not actual (injurious) fighting. In fact, I was prompted to search for "hare vs. rabbit" by a photo on MSNbc's Animal Tracks for this week (Mar 26, 2010), of two hares squaring off. 2) that there is very much difference in the diet. Gnawing animals gnaw on anything; bark has virtually no nutrition and wouldn't be eaten unless the hare (or rabbit) was bored or starving. A "shoot" is a "soft stem." I would expect both to eat grass, flowers, buds, chewable stems, and whatever vegetables they can get. Nevertheless, an informative writeup.

— 149.✗.✗.121

November 19, 2009, 12:27pm

this helped me alot!! thanx

— 115.✗.✗.10

September 15, 2009, 7:36am

This was very helpful in settling a trivia question with a friend. However, it has also exposed a very ugly and troubling issue.

Now that we know a "bunny" is specifically defined as an immature "rabbit," this can only mean that employing the "Easter Bunny" to deliver swag baskets and hide eggs on Easter Eve violates a whole host of state, federal, and UN Child Labor Laws. Inexcusable child exploitation!

This means there is no difference between our traditional Easter festivities and an El Salvadoran sweat shop full of hungry orphans making Nikes. We are just lucky we haven't been caught yet. The only solution is to quietly change the job description to "Easter Rabbit," purge all history books and greeting cards of incriminating "bunny" references, and never speak of this again.

Furthermore, to ensure political correctness, diversity, and ethnic inclusiveness, in alternate years the contract for Easter Eve responsibilities must be awarded to the "Easter Hare."


— 72.✗.✗.70

September 9, 2009, 6:13pm

thanks. this was very helpful in my gifted and enrichment class.

— 74.✗.✗.2

July 8, 2009, 4:59pm

Thanks! This was a lot of help for my 4-H project!

— 75.✗.✗.225

April 7, 2009, 5:40pm

yes very helpful thankx alot

— 70.✗.✗.15

March 27, 2009, 7:05am

Thank you for posting this, it was very helpful!

— 98.✗.✗.17

September 27, 2013, 12:12am

B.kentish. I love this that helped me on my h.work in 4Wilson at Rollington Town Primary

— 72.✗.✗.98

April 18, 2013, 9:50pm

This really helped! I was wondering in science when we learned about placental mammals.

— 173.✗.✗.158

March 10, 2013, 7:24pm

Many rabbits' eyes (especially the all-white ones) have red eyes.

— 74.✗.✗.23

August 31, 2012, 8:27pm

Theyre kits not kittens

— 173.✗.✗.80

July 20, 2012, 9:11pm

well i guess i have a hare then because we got her at the shelter and her fur is changing, she thumps her foot when ever the cat is by her cage, she has long body and a deer-like tail.

— 216.✗.✗.118
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