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The Hare

  • The Hare

    One animal you are very likely to spot in Tuscany is the hare. It is much larger than the rabbit, its more numerous cousin, and one easy way to tell them apart is the hare’s bigger, black-tipped ears. The hare's fur is generally a shade between sand and brown, and white on their bellies, though this can vary; for example, hares in the far north of Italy turn white in winter to blend in with the snow.

    This ability to camouflage itself is important for the hare because it spends a large part of each day lying still in the ground cover, hidden from predators. Its preferred territory is cultivated countryside or level ground within forests, where its incredible ability to turn in different directions at speed is put to good use when fleeing danger. The hare has longer legs than rabbits and more powerful forelegs. This enables it to make sudden changes of direction when running to throw off predators. This trait, known as telemarking, also helps identify hares from rabbits.

    Also unlike rabbits, hares do not live beneath ground but in scrapes, small areas of hollowed-out earth where they can lie still. If you spot scrapes around your villa in Tuscany, it is a sure sign that hares are close by.

    The best time to look for hares is during the evening and as night falls because they are most active during the hours of darkness, when they feed on plants and mate. Baby hares are called leverets and are born throughout the year. At birth, they are already quite self-sufficient; their eyes and ears are already open, unlike many mammals. By the time they reach the age of one, they are fully grown and independent.

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