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Brown hare

There are two species of hare in the UK (brown and mountain) but only the brown hare is known in Wales.

It's thought that brown hares were introduced to Britain by the Romans. Numbers started to decline after 1880, when a change in the law allowed farmers to shoot game.

During the last century, the shift from mixed farming to either arable or livestock farming, resulted in a 75% decline in numbers by the 1990s.

Look out for their black topped-tail as they zig-zag across the fields at speeds of up to 45mph with the help of their powerful hind legs.

The boxing displays which have given hares this reputation occur because males (jacks) are trying to exert their dominance over one another and females (jills) are fighting off unwanted advances.

As part of an ongoing survey by the North Wales Wildlife Trust, members have reported seeing hares on the sand dunes at Harlech, Cors Goch nature reserve and Halkyn Mountain. Sightings have also been made in mown areas such as golf courses, airfields, industrial business parks, campsites and gardens.

Surveys in South Wales have found reasonable numbers of hares in the traditional farming areas of the Vale of Glamorgan, Gower and Pembrokeshire. However, the virtual disappearance of arable land on the coal field landscape has led to the virtual disappearance of hares from the area.

At first glance, hares are similar to rabbits, but there are differences to help you distinguish between the two. Hares are much bigger than rabbits, reaching up to 48-70cm in length and 3-5kg in weight.

Their black-tipped ears are twice the length of their head, whereas the rabbit's brown ears are relatively short, and the hare's fur is warmer in colour than the greyish-brown tones of the rabbit.

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