There are many animals in the world and it can be very confusing at times to distinguish between them, as some look similar from a distance. It takes added knowledge to identify animals that look similar and sometimes you will have to delve into the science behind it. This article will highlight the differences, if any, between the bunny vs rabbit and the hare.

Bunnies vs Rabbits

Bunny vs rabbit – are they the same or not? Whereas bunny is a common name for rabbits, it is important to note that bunny is common when referring to a young rabbit or a baby rabbit while a rabbit refers to the mature version of the animal. Like many other mammals, the rabbit is furry. It has long ears with strong hind legs that facilitate its hopping movement.

Scientifically, the bunny vs rabbit comparison only refers to the animal’s maturity. This is because they both come from the same kingdom, phylum, genus, family, order, and class.

Rabbit vs Hare differences

While the rabbit and the hare may seem similar, a closer look at the two animals reveals great differences. The two have distinct features, adaptation, and behavior. For starters, the rabbit is more social and domesticated in comparison to the hare which is wild in descent and nature.

Wild hare

While rabbits may prefer soft foods and vegetables, the wildly bred hares prefer tough grass, barks of trees and twigs which are readily available in the forest. You may also find a hare eating low hanging fruits and seeds while some are carnivorous due to their extreme environment.

In terms of physical features, the rabbit is smaller with shorter ears while the hare tends to be bigger in body size and with longer ears. Newborn rabbits, commonly known as bunnies, are born furless and blind. This makes them dependent on their mothers while they grow and develop their adaptive features.

On the other hand, newborn hares, commonly referred to as leverets, are born fully functional – with a body full of fur and the ability to see. This makes them better placed in their wild environment. Leverets also walk within the first hour of their birth thus; they are independent creatures despite their age.

As an adaptation to their environment, hares have longer and stronger hind legs. This enables them to hop longer distances, and faster whenever they need to flee from danger.

On the flip side, rabbits have shorter hind legs and therefore hop shorter distances and prefer to go into their underground burrows for safety. The long ears of the hare are distinct in that they have dark marks while those of rabbits tend to sport the same color as the fur on their bodies.

Environmental Adaptation

The bunny vs rabbit vs hare differ when it comes to environmental adaptation. Due to their wild nature and the fact that they live outside, a hare’s fur tends to change color depending on the time of the year and the weather. For instance, their fur will turn white during winter while during the summer they turn brown or gray. Hares are also independent creatures that prefer solitude while rabbits thrive in numbers.

Hares tend to be nocturnal. This means that nighttime is feeding time and daytime is sleeping time. This is also an adaptive characteristic due to their wild environment. Nighttime activity minimizes the risk of falling prey to other larger animals. Rabbits, on the other hand, are active during the day and retreat to their shelter at night to sleep.

It is also important to note that the gestation period of a rabbit is different from that of a hare. Rabbits are pregnant for 30 days while hares go for up to 45 days during their pregnancy term.

While a rabbit can give birth to any number of bunnies between 4 and 12, a hare can only give birth to a maximum of six leverets at once. Despite the differences of the bunny and leveret at birth, both the rabbit and the hare nurture their young ones until they reach maturity.

Hares are naturally nervous creatures that are hard to keep as pets. They are difficult to domesticate due to their wild nature and are rarely sedentary. Rabbits are largely domestic animals that enjoy human attention. Both the rabbit and the hare enjoy their freedom and have certain survival instincts such as biting if they feel threatened or lying down and pretending they are dead.

Nevertheless, as we have seen, they are inherently different in their own unique ways.

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Miranda Hawkins
Miranda currently lives just outside Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband, 8-year old son, and what she lovingly calls her “zoo.” Miranda grew up in the Midwest and always had animals around while growing up. After graduating from college, she married her husband Sam and they moved to the mountains of Colorado where Miranda became very involved with the regional rabbit rescues.

Currently, her “zoo” includes two dogs, one rambunctious cat, and three indoor rabbits. Oliver, a delightful Black Otter Holland Lop, and Juniper, a gorgeous Opal Satin Angora, are a bonded pair and have been together for three years.

She had the pleasure of adding an energetic Fawn Flemish Giant to her family one year ago, named Sir Gregor. He had been abandoned outside a pet store and was put up for adoption. Miranda feels very blessed to have this lovable lagomorph living amongst her family and is a strong advocate for educating people about rabbits and how special they truly are.

Miranda has put together a team of rabbit lovers and breeders from across the country and hopes you will find the information and resources on the JustRabbits.com site beneficial. She loves to hear from her readers and looks forward to seeing many more people become loving responsible bunny parents.