Behavior

Predation is an important aspect in the life of hares and rabbits. Hares escape predators by running away and try to confuse predators by backtracking themselves. Rabbits try to escape predators by running into burrows or holes. Therefore, hares can travel considerable distances and have large home ranges, while rabbits mostly stay in the vicinity of safe hiding places in small home ranges or territories. Many species use distress calls or thump their hind feet on the ground to warn for predators. They also use a soft sound produced by grinding their teeth.

A marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris) eating vegetation in Everglades National Park, Florida, USA. (Photo by Animals Animals ©Joe McDonald. Reproduced by permission.)
A dwarf domestic rabbit in a field in Oxon, United Kingdom. (Photo by Animals Animals ©A. Ramage, OSF. Reproduced by permission.)
A snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) changing from winter white coat to summer brown. (Photo by L. L. Rue. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)
A desert cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii) burrowing in South Dakota, USA. (Photo by John Shaw. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by perns-sion.)

Hearing is the most important sense for leporids, but scent marking is also an central way to communicate. They have scent glands on their nose, chin, and around the anus. This is important in sexual situations, especially for the social European rabbit.

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