It has been a few weeks since my last blog post and there has been a lot happening in this time. Our dedicated biodiversity education centre is well under way now and we’re really excited to see the progress. The habitat exploration trail is also beginning to take new shape not least because of an explosion of spring growth due to some ideal weather. I was pleased to have spotted an adult Hare as I arrived at the centre this morning. Did you know that hares can run at up to 70KPH?! As such, I didn’t quite manage to snap a photo before the hare disappeared from view.
Easily distinguished from rabbits, the hare is generally larger and has a more upright posture. There are two species of hare in Ireland, the Brown hare (Lepus europaeus) and the Irish Mountain hare (Lepus timidus hibernicus) and although similar are discrete species with a few different physical features. The most easily identifiable difference between them is that the Irish hare’s tail is completely white while the Brown hare has a black stripe. Furthermore, although it has been recorded that Irish Mountain hare will use burrows abandoned by rabbits, both hares would prefer to rest above ground in shallow depressions amongst vegetation.
Whilst both species are protected under the Wildlife Act 1976/2000, only the indigenous Irish Mountain Hare is afforded greater protection under the EU Directive 92/43 Annex V and Bern Convention Appendix III. The Mountain hare is, in fact, one of the country’s longest established indigenous mammals. I will be keeping a closer eye out now to see if I can identify which species is present here but would welcome either or indeed both of course! We hope that you can come to see for yourself as well. And if you manage to get a shot (camera) then remember to record this on the National Biodiversity Data Centre website or app. Cavan Adventure Centre wildlife stories continue.