6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Kent Life today CLICK HERE

Looking after our fastest land mammal

PUBLISHED: 15:10 28 December 2014 | UPDATED: 15:10 28 December 2014

Brown hare, photo by Jim Higham

Brown hare, photo by Jim Higham

Archant

The National Trust is working closely with farmers to reconnect important habitats together and reverse the dramatic decline in Kent of the hare

The fastest land mammal in 
the UK; there are few 
more majestic sights in 
the countryside than a hare sprinting across an open field.

Sadly, however, the numbers of this iconic farmland species, now rarely glimpsed, have declined dramatically.

Some of this decline is attributable to modern farming practices reducing the amount of food available at different times of the year, increasing vulnerability to predators, and affecting breeding success.

Large fields, hare-coursing, agricultural intensification and the increased use of machinery have all affected hare numbers.

Kent Wildlife Trust works with farmers and landowners to provide advice on wildlife-friendly management, providing habitats such as grass buffer strips that 
are beneficial for hares.

Alongside this the Trust is working towards a Living Landscape: a network 
of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are valuable 
for both wildlife and people. The hare’s survival is dependent upon a landscape of well-connected and good-quality habitat which is, in turn, rich in biodiversity.

There once used to be four million 
brown hares across Britain with the last estimate putting their populations at around 700,000. In some areas of the country they are locally extinct and, 
after the water vole, it is the second 
British mammal to have suffered the greatest decline in the last century.

In Kent, numbers have declined dramatically and the distribution is now limited mostly to north Kent and Romney marshes where the Trust is working closely with farmers to reconnect important habitats together and reverse this decline.

Did you know?

 The brown hare (Lepus europaeus) 
is an animal of much mythology and 
whether boxing, attending tea parties, 
or masquerading as the Easter Bunny, 
it is a potent symbol of many things; creativity, regeneration and eternity.

 Unlike a baby rabbit (kitten) that is 
born with no hair and its eyes closed, 
a baby hare (leveret) is born with fur 
and its eyes open and can run within 
a few minutes of being born.

 Unlike rabbits, hares do not dig and burrow into the ground, but instead live their whole lives above ground. They do not have a particular home and will sleep in any suitable spot, continually shifting from one place to another.

 Hares are a lot larger than rabbits 
and can weigh twice as much.

 A hare’s ears are larger than rabbits, 
with distinct black tips, and their hind 
legs are slightly longer.

 Hares are golden brown in colour, whereas rabbits tend to be grey.

 Hares can run at 70 km/h (43 mph) 
and when confronted by predators they rely on outrunning them in the open.

 Brown hares are famed for their boxing matches during the mating season and 
face each other in open fields, sometimes with an audience of hares.

 The collective noun for a group of 
hares is a ‘drove’. n

More from Out & About

Wherever you go in Kent you'll find people just like us pounding the streets, parks and waterways. So why are we all running?

Read more
May 2019

Kent has a wealth of beautiful gardens to visit and throughout the open garden season you'll find an array of stunning choices. Here's a selection of our favourites

Read more
April 2019
Thursday, May 9, 2019

Kent has many villages that exude historical charm and a traditional village atmosphere beloved by locals and visitors. Here we pick 10 of the prettiest to explore

Read more
Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Whether it's a castle, stately country manor house or seafront hotel, Kent has the perfect venue

Read more
May 2019

Close neighbours, one ancient, one modern - meet the very different West Kent neighbours

Read more
May 2019

With its quirky shops, Norman castle, ancient cathedral and riverside setting, even Charles Dickens would agree it doesn't get much better than historic Rochester

Read more
Monday, April 29, 2019

Kent is not only home to many stunning beaches but also has some of the safest and cleanest in the country, many with prestigious Blue Flag status

Read more

From a gentle stroll to admire the flowers to expert-led walks, there's something for every May garden fan to enjoy

Read more
May 2019

Margate has one of the closest sandy beaches to London, it's been packing in the day-trippers for centuries and now boasts added cultural regeneration

Read more
May 2019
Thursday, April 25, 2019

We have selected 12 of the grandest historic stately homes with stunning gardens in Kent to visit

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life