Types of Rabbits (Leporidae)
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Types of Animals
The Leporidae family consists of approximately fifty different types of rabbit and hare species. What's the difference between the two?
The story of the rabbit and the hare may not be as old as the story of the tortoise and the hare, however it is equally compelling.
All hares and rabbits share the physical characteristic of having two sets of incisors on each side of the jaw, that continue to grow or regenerate throughout the animals' lifetimes.
The teeth help hares and rabbits with their vegetarian diet, consisting of local plant life in their habitat.
Despite these similarities, there are some important differences between hares and rabbits.
One look at the pictures on this page shows that one of the animals has longer ears than the other. Larger ears are characteristic of hares.
The longer eared animal pictured first in the box on the right is a Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus). Despite the name, it is categorized as a hare, and is very common in the western United States.
The pictures may be useful for an ear comparison, however, they do not offer an adequate view for a size comparison.
Generally, hares are larger than rabbits.
The picture in the box on the right shows a cottontail rabbit, named for its small white tail. It is one of many sub-species of regionally differentiated cottontails found around the United States.
In addition to the physical traits that differentiate hares and rabbits, they also differ in how they bear their young. Usually rabbits bear their young in underground burrows and hares bear their young above ground.
Differences in breeding habitat produces different types of newborns. Young hares are born with fur and open eyes, almost ready for an independent life.
Rabbits are born furless and blind, totally dependent on their parents for the first three to four weeks of their lifetime.
© 2008. Patricia A. Michaels