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The Irish Mountain Hare

(Click on Images to enlarge, then click on each image to go to the next image more easily.)


Irish Mountain Hare in Grass


Irish Mountain Hare in Snow


Irish Mountain Hare Running in Snow


Irish Mountain Hare Running


Irish Mountain Hare Leverets


Irish Mountain Hare Stretching


Irish Mountain Hare Portrait


Irish Mountain Hare


Irish Mountain Hare Scratching




Hares Running Through Snow




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Hares in Snow


The Irish Mountain Hare (Lepus timidus hibernicus), is a subspecies of the Mountain Hare. Unlike other subspecies, the Irish mountain hare does not develop a white coat in winter. The adult female can be half a kilo heaver than the males which comes in useful in spring time when the "Mad March Hares" can be seen chasing each other.

These hares have been photographed around north county Dublin and Dublin airport where the city has slowly moved in on their territory. They can regularly be seen throughout the day and early arrivals at Dublin airport car parks will often see some pretty large hares bolt as they approach their cars. They are not there for any special food, but rather have been there for many years in the grassy fields that preceded the car parks.

At the time of writing, early April, I have been watching and enjoying the hares display their mad march season antics. During this time, males assert their authority and chase other males off and pursue females. It is the female that rebukes and boxes the male, so being larger gives her the upper hand. She will keep the males chasing all day or for longer until she is ready to mate. It is thought that a by making them run all day, she guarantees that she mates with the fittest male.

The "Mad March Hare" actually occurs any time a females comes into season. This can be anytime after January and last year I watched them race about in September. They can have three litters a year and there can be from one to three leverets.

The leverets are normally left in the grass during the day, but the leverets above were in a shallow muck depression. Unlike rabbits, that are born with their eyes closed, leverets are born with their eyes open and a full coat of hair. They have adapted differently to rabbits because unlike rabbits that live in burrows, hares normally live, sleep and rest in a patch of flattened grass called a form.