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Hare today, gone tomorrow?

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Blog & painting Diana Bunyon.

The Roman Hare

Thought to have been introduced to Britain in Roman times or even earlier the brown hare is now the most common hare in the UK.

They’re found mainly on arable farmland and also grassland with sheltered areas in long grass, hedgerows and pasture. Their ears are longer than the mountain hare, have red-brown fur with orange-brown flanks and a black-topped tail. They have amber eyes. The mountain hare has brown eyes. They have little legal protection and are still game animals managed by farmers and landowners and their numbers have shrunk because of intensive arable farming with little grass for grazing and to hide in. They are on the red list (threatened).

The Snowman

The mountain hare is native to the UK and found in upland areas of Scotland and central England and is the only hare that turns white in winter. The best time to see them is in the spring when the snow has gone but their coats are still white. Unlike the brown hare it is protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981and is a Priority Species under the UK Biodiversity


The Pleistocene hare

The Irish hare could be the remaining descendants of an older genetic lineage that was probably common in Europe prior to the last ice age. They are similar to the mountain hare but don’t grow a white coat in winter and are smaller. Numbers have declined locally where favourable habitats, such as former grouse moors, have been afforested or heather has been removed by excessive grazing. They are also on the red list (threatened).

Diana Bunyon is an artist with a particular interest in hares. To view her work, please see

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