Significance to humans

Many hares and rabbits are economically important for humans. They are hunted for meat, skin, and for sport. Cottontails and some of the hares are hunted in millions every year. However, they may also damage agricultural crops and forestry plantations. When introduced into new areas, they can also threaten native species.

Hares and rabbits are known from tales dating back centuries, mostly as tricksters and fertility symbols. The hare was, for example, important in the Germanic heathen mythology as the fertility goddess Ostara, and was transformed by Christians into the Easter celebration.

The domestic European rabbit is well known all over the world and used extensively in laboratory research and as pet animals. The first descriptions of domestic breeds of European rabbits come from France in the sixteenth century.

1. Snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus); 2. Desert cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii); 3. Mountain hare (Lepus timidus); 4. Volcano rabbit (Romero-lagus diazi); 5. Eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus); 6. European hare (Lepus europaeus); 7. Annamite striped rabbit (Nesolagus limminsi); 8. European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). (Illustration by Amanda Smith)

0 0

Post a comment