Brown or European Hare

Lepus europaeus


Photo credits: ©Silviu Petrovan; ©Autumnalis
Lepus europaeus – Brown or European hare
  • L. europaeus is a medium sized mammal, about the size of a domestic cat. It is distinctive as it has long ears, and large hind legs and feet.
  • This species can range in size and colour depending on location; in England, it can be 400mm-700mm long, and weigh 2-7kg, with females being larger than males.
  • In summer, they have tawny or brown fur with black ear; in winter, the fur turns thicker and greyer.
  • Young (called leverets) are born fully furred, and their eyes are open; they resemble adult hares in colour.
  • It has a broad range of habitats, including farmland, woodland, grasslands, and coastal dunes.

Download N.I.E.A. guide

Origin and Worldwide Distribution:
  • It is native to Europe and parts of Asia.
  • It is invasive in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Barbados, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, and Chile.

Potential or Known Impacts:
  • It hybridises with the Irish hare (Lepus timidus hibernicus). Hybrids are produced, therefore reducing genetically pure L. timidus hares. It has a high reproductive potential, both in its species and with the Irish hare.
  • It is a habitat and dietary generalist, which may make it an agricultural and forestry pest. It may alter groundcover flora.

How did it get here?
  • This species was deliberately introduced for hunting.

Is it found in Northern Ireland?
  • It is found in Northern Ireland.

You can help by reporting any sightings: @ the Centre for Environmental Data & Recording (CEDaR) - Or via the iRecord App.
Methods for Prevention:
  • Do not introduce.
  • Report all sightings.
For further queries, you can contact the Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558 or Email:  

Species Related Files:

Invasive Species Ireland

Invasive Species Ireland