Bunny vs. Hare

What's the Difference?

Bunnies and hares are both members of the Leporidae family, but they have distinct differences. Bunnies are smaller in size, with rounder bodies and shorter ears. They are known for their adorable appearance and are often kept as pets. Hares, on the other hand, are larger and have longer legs and ears. They are built for speed and agility, capable of reaching high speeds in open fields. Unlike bunnies, hares are typically found in the wild and have a more independent nature. Overall, while both bunnies and hares share some similarities, their contrasting physical characteristics and behaviors set them apart.


Photo by Satyabratasm on Unsplash
Scientific NameOryctolagus cuniculusLepus
SizeSmall to mediumMedium to large
AppearanceShort ears, small tailLong ears, long legs
HabitatVaries, including forests, meadows, and gardensOpen fields, grasslands, and deserts
BehaviorMore social and domesticatedMore solitary and wild
Running SpeedSlowerFaster
LifespanAverage of 8-12 yearsAverage of 5-6 years
Photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash

Further Detail


Bunnies and hares are two popular animals that are often confused with each other due to their similar appearances. While they both belong to the Leporidae family, they have distinct characteristics that set them apart. In this article, we will explore the attributes of bunnies and hares, highlighting their differences and similarities.

Physical Appearance

When it comes to physical appearance, bunnies and hares have noticeable differences. Bunnies are generally smaller in size, with shorter legs and ears. They have a compact body structure, making them look more rounded. On the other hand, hares are larger and have longer legs and ears. Their bodies are more elongated, giving them a sleeker appearance. These differences in physical attributes are adaptations that help each species thrive in their respective habitats.

Habitat and Distribution

Bunnies and hares also differ in terms of their preferred habitats and distribution. Bunnies are typically found in grasslands, meadows, and forests, where they can easily find shelter and food. They are known to dig burrows to create safe havens for themselves. On the contrary, hares are more commonly found in open areas such as deserts, tundra, and grassy plains. Their long legs enable them to run at high speeds, which is advantageous in their open habitat where they need to evade predators.

Behavior and Lifestyle

When it comes to behavior and lifestyle, bunnies and hares exhibit distinct characteristics. Bunnies are known for their social nature and tend to live in groups called colonies. They are often seen interacting with each other, grooming, and playing. Bunnies are also known to be more domesticated and are commonly kept as pets. On the other hand, hares are more solitary animals. They prefer to live alone and only come together during the mating season. Hares are known for their incredible speed and agility, which they use to escape from predators.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Reproduction and the life cycle of bunnies and hares also differ significantly. Bunnies have a shorter gestation period, usually around 30 days, and can reproduce multiple times throughout the year. They give birth to litters of around 4-12 kits, which are born hairless and with closed eyes. Bunnies reach sexual maturity at a younger age, typically around 3-4 months. In contrast, hares have a longer gestation period, lasting around 42-45 days. They have fewer litters, usually consisting of 1-4 leverets. Hares are born fully furred and with open eyes, ready to explore their surroundings. They reach sexual maturity at a later age, around 6-8 months.

Diet and Feeding Habits

Both bunnies and hares are herbivores, but their diet and feeding habits differ slightly. Bunnies primarily feed on grass, leaves, and vegetables. They have a more diverse diet and are known to eat a wider range of plant materials. Bunnies have a tendency to graze and nibble on vegetation throughout the day. On the other hand, hares have a more selective diet, focusing mainly on grass and other low-growing plants. They are known to be more efficient in digesting tough plant materials due to their specialized digestive system.

Camouflage and Defense Mechanisms

Camouflage and defense mechanisms are crucial for the survival of both bunnies and hares. Bunnies rely on their ability to blend in with their surroundings to avoid predators. Their fur coloration often matches the environment they inhabit, providing them with camouflage. Additionally, bunnies have a tendency to freeze when they sense danger, relying on their ability to remain motionless to avoid detection. Hares, on the other hand, have evolved to rely on their incredible speed and agility as their primary defense mechanism. When threatened, hares can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour, allowing them to outrun most predators.


In conclusion, while bunnies and hares may appear similar at first glance, they have distinct attributes that differentiate them from each other. Bunnies are smaller, more social, and have a shorter gestation period, while hares are larger, more solitary, and have a longer gestation period. Their physical appearance, habitat preferences, behavior, and feeding habits also vary. Understanding these differences allows us to appreciate the unique characteristics of both bunnies and hares, highlighting the diversity within the Leporidae family.

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