Since hares and rabbits are found almost all over the world, they are also both found in a variety of habitats, from deep forests to open deserts. But hares have different basic habitat requirements than rabbits.

Hares are mostly found in open areas where their running speed is a good adaptation to escape predators. They can thus be found from arctic tundra to productive grasslands or deserts. In these open areas, they take advantage of shrubs and rocks to hide, and rely on their well-camouflaged fur. But snowshoe hares and partly mountain hares and Manchurian hares prefer coniferous or mixed forests.

However, rabbits are confined to forests and shrubs where they can hide in the vegetation or in burrows. Some rabbits are found in deep tropical forests, such as the striped rabbits, and others use specific habitats like riverine shrubs, as do the riverine rabbit and hispid hare. Cottontails inhabit a large variety of habitats, including swamps, forests, parks, agricultural field, shrubs, and deserts.

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