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European hare

The European hare (Lepus europaeus) is one of the largest hare species. Native to Europe and parts of Asia, it is adapted to temperate, open country. Hares feed mainly on grasses and herbs, supplementing these with twigs, buds, bark and field crops, particularly in winter. They rely on high-speed endurance running to escape predators, including large birds of prey, canids and felids. Generally nocturnal and shy, hares can be seen in the spring in broad daylight chasing one another around in fields, and sometimes striking each other with their paws ("boxing"). The female nests in a depression on the surface of the ground, giving birth to three or four kits that are active as soon as they are born. The European hare has a wide range and is moderately abundant, but populations have been declining in mainland Europe since the 1960s. The hare has been a traditional symbol of fertility and reproduction in some cultures. (Full article...)