Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

hare indicates, in English, various species in the family Leporidae, which is also the family of the rabbit. As far as the cook is concerned, they differ from the latter by having dark, strongly flavoured flesh. In appearance, they are larger than rabbits, have longer ears, a notched (‘hare’) lip, and powerful hind legs. Young hares are called leverets in English until one year old.

Hares are a widespread and successful group. The brown, or European hare, Lepus europaeus, is native to and common in the British Isles, and the varying hare (L. timidus scotius) whose coat changes to white in winter, is found in Scotland. Hare of various species also range through Europe, China, and India, and across the African grasslands. In the New World, animals which would be considered hares in Europe are commonly called rabbits, e.g. the Californian jack rabbit (L. californicus) and the snowshoe rabbit (L. americanus). The European hare has been introduced in N. America, Chile, and Australasia.