Little visitor

This week’s Photo Challenge was all about things that distract us, or make us stop what we are doing.  Seeing any kind of wildlife is going to distract me. It could be a bumblebee buzzing around a flower, a beetle scuttling into a hiding place, a bird flying overhead. But this little fellow, who popped into our garden yesterday evening, holds a particular place in my heart.

Irish hare leveret

Irish hare leveret

This is an Irish hare leveret,  a young hare maybe 4-5 months old.  I spent a number of years studying these amazing animals.  Irish hares (Lepus timidus hibernicus) are a unique sub species of hare found only in Ireland. For hares, their ears are quite short. They have a white tail and their fur colour can vary from dark to reddish brown and even sometimes light brown.  Because we have very little snow in Ireland they don’t go white in the winter. But sometimes piebald ones are seen, with splashes of white fur.

Leveret

Irish hare leveret

They are shy, secretive animals, so having one come into the garden was a real treat. The photos were taken through the window so not great quality, but great to get a photo at all.

Irish hare leveret

Hare, unlike rabbits, do not use burrows. During the day the will find areas with good cover, where they will make a nest like form in long vegetation (grass, rushes).

Modern intensive farming methods are probably one of the main reasons for the decline in numbers. However, they are still a widespread species and occur in many habitats from uplands to coastal dunes.

You can find out more at the Vincent Wildlife Trust – mammals in Ireland section.

 

28 thoughts on “Little visitor

  1. Mary Rose

    I liked your pictures. It’s sweet that the hare came into your garden. I just found out Jackrabbits which we have here in the desert are also hares. I just found out from you that hares don’t burrow which I didn’t know.

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  2. Wild Daffodil

    How thrilling to see the hare in your garden – any wildlife distracts me too. I don’t have a fence at the bottom of my garden, it goes straight onto the field, so I have deer, foxes and rabbits popping in from time to time.

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  3. eyeforapic

    Great post and photos of the hare, I didn’t realise they didn’t live in burrows. We don’t get many, if any, hares in Cornwall, but since moving up to Scotland I’ve seen plenty, and can understand why you find them so fascinating 🙂

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      There in Britain you get two types – In Scotland the Mountain hare (cousin to our Irish hare) but also the brown hare bigger with longer ears! Glad you liked the post.

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      1. eyeforapic

        Thank you for the extra information, the one’s I’ve seen are the more common brown hare, I’ve yet to see any of your cousins (obviously not your personal cousins! Lol!), the Mountain hares.
        I know there is the expression about running fast like a hare, but I couldn’t get over how fast they run over quite an extended distance, I had always imagined them running fast over just short distances, like more elegant looking rabbits! 🙂

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      There is something special about them – probably why there are many folk stories and myths attached to them too.

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  5. Robbie

    He/she is adorable! My dog would have chased that poor little bunny around. Once the garden fills in the little bunnies can escape my dog. However, he is getting older and his eyesight and hearing is not as good as it once was so the bunnies do get away. I have problems with them eating everything in my garden. They do leave my lettuce alone, but they love my other salad greens. I am glad they hate my lettuce for fences are my best friends until my veggies get tall enough. Does this one eat vegetables?
    I love your meadows!!! So beautiful:-)

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      I will be much more tolerant of having the hare nibble a few veg than a rabbit, and we do occasionally have one of those about too. But as you say they can do most damage in the spring so will make sure to keep garden gates shut then:-)

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      Can’t do too much damage, as most brassicas are netted and all the lettuce is in the polytunnel (where I have been battling a bit with slugs and snails! it had been wet August and they are thriving!)

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