Brown hare

Lepus europaeus

Photo Jussi Helimäki

Brown hare is one of the two hare species found in Estonia. They are bigger than white hares and prefer open landscapes (fields and meadows and their edges). Its hair is brownish-grey on the top and white on the bottom. Its winter hair is light grey. Compared to white hares, they also have longer ears and a longer tail, which is black on the top. The brown hare only feeds on plants: predominantly Poaceae and Fabaceae. In winter, they also feed on the branches and bark of trees and shrubs. They also eat 90–95% of the food once passed through the intestine. This helps to get most of the nutrients from the food. Brown hares have a lot of enemies. They are endangered by most average and large predators, as well as larger birds of prey. Brown hares breed 2–3 times a year.