Image for Golden hares

Golden hares

Duration: 02:13

The landscape on Northern Island's Rathlin Island means you have a good chance of seeing one of Ireland's very special mammals - a creature of legend. Chris Packham goes to see one of Europe's rarest animals - the Irish hare. They achieve a high density on Rathlin and Chris watches a group that's gathered around one female with a damaged leg. Irish hares are only found in Ireland - they are descendants of the mountain hare, not the lowland brown hare. Chris has never seen so many hares in one place before. Then he gets a golden opportunity - the locals have reported sightings of animals that stood out from the rest - the legendary golden hare of Rathlin and Chris goes to see them. A weird genetic quirk has produced these rusty or tan hares, which are much lighter coloured than all the rest. One theory is that they only survive here because there are no predators. Others think that it is a natural colour for an animal that survives by speed, not camouflage.

Available since: Thu 26 Jan 2012


Mike Dilger
Chris Packham
Janet Sumner
Jonathan Bigwood
Jane French

This clip is from

Nature's Calendar Series 1, Spring: Islands

The team goes island-hopping as Chris Packham meets the legendary golden hares of Rathlin.

First broadcast: 26 Feb 2007

Image for Spring: Islands Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss