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.
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.
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.
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.