The Hare – Wildlife Wednesdays.
Our weekly dive into our beautiful Irish wildlife – This week is the Irish Hare or Giorria.
This series will help your family reconnect with Ireland’s unique and wonderful wildlife.
Each week we cover a new animal or bird that appears in the Johnny Magory book series.
This week we cover the Irish Brown Hare in Garavogue Bog, Co. Kildare Ireland.
Here’s some key facts to recap on the Hen Harrier:
- Young hares are called leverets.
- The life span is a maximum of 9 years.
- They are one of Ireland’s longest established indigenous animals and are much larger than rabbits with a more upright stance.
- Their eyes are large and set in the sides of the head allowing for a wide field of vision which is close to 360 degrees.
- When running they have a top speed of 70kmp or 43mph and can change direction sharply to outwit predators.
- They have five toes on their front feet and four on their hind.
- Hares do not burrow underground but occupy ground surface dens called forms in sheltered areas of flattened vegetation under heather and long grass.
- They are native to Ireland and they have been present in Ireland as far back as 28,000BC
- The hares are steeped in Irish legend/ folklore and Irish mythology as shapeshifters.
- There is a legend that the Celtic warrior Oisin hunted a hare, wounding it in the leg. Oisin followed the wounded animal into a thicket where he found a door leading down into the ground. He went in and came to a large hall where he found a beautiful young woman sitting on a throne bleeding from a leg wound. He vowed to never hunt or eat a hare from that day.
- The term “Mad as a March hare” stems from the fact that male hares will fight or “box” during March which is their primary mating season.
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