What are the Differences Between Rabbits & Hares?

Although rabbits and hares come from the same family, they are not the same animal. Either pest may cause issues in yards and gardens, so it’s important to know a few key identifying facts.

The main differences between rabbits and hares include their appearance, offspring, and habitat.


What’s the difference between a rabbit and a hare?

There are several physical features that may help to tell the two apart. For example:

  • Rabbit fur stays the same color year-round, while a hare’s coat can change seasonally.
  • Hares are generally larger than rabbits, and some have black-tipped ears.
  • A hare has long, strong hind legs for running quickly, whereas a rabbit has shorter limbs more adept at digging.


Rabbit vs. hare babies are also slightly different. Young hares, called leverets, are born with fur and open eyes at birth. They can move independently after only a short time. Hares breed from late January to August.

On the other hand, newborn rabbits have no hair and closed eyes. The young, known as kits, can’t regulate their own body temperature and are dependent on adults. Rabbits breed from December through June.


Preferred environment is another way to identify rabbits vs. hares.

Hares in the Country

Hares live in wide open areas where they use their speed to evade predators. As a result, while suburban residents may spot either rabbits or hares, many hares favor rural areas.

These animals feed on shoots, buds, and bark and make small depressions in yards. They have large home ranges, so a hare may be an occasional invader rather than a constant problem.

Rabbits in the City

Rabbits prefer dense brush, but they easily adapt to hedges and overgrown fencerows in neighborhoods. The pests stay close to their burrows when they forage for food.

Rabbits that burrow in lawns often take produce from gardens and clip plant stems right down to the ground.

Rabbit vs. Hare Control

Rabbits or hares in the wild may carry parasites and transmit diseases such as tularemia. To safely deal with infestations, contact Critter Control. Trained professionals know the difference between a rabbit and a hare and can create solutions to remove either pest from yards.

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