Hare in a field - Willi Schnabel - Framed Picture - 11" x 14"
Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares are classified into the same family as rabbits.
They are similar in size and form to rabbits and eat the same diet. They are generally herbivorous and long-eared, they are fast runners, and they typically live solitarily or in pairs. Hare species are native to Africa, Eurasia, North America, and the Japanese archipelago.
A hare less than one year old is called a leveret. The collective noun for a group of hares is a "drove".
The hare in African folk tales is a trickster; some of the stories about the hare were retold among African slaves in America, and are the basis of the Br'er Rabbit stories. The hare appears in English folklore in the saying "as mad as a March hare" and in the legend of the White Hare that alternatively tells of a witch who takes the form of a white hare and goes out looking for prey at night or of the spirit of a broken-hearted maiden who cannot rest and who haunts her unfaithful lover.
The hare was once regarded as an animal sacred to Aphrodite and Eros because of its high libido. Live hares were often presented as a gift of love. Now the hare is commonly associated with the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre, and therefore pagan symbols like the Easter Bunny have been appropriated into the Christian tradition.