At the end of March we hosted our annual hare weekend. However unfortunately due to bad weather we had to cancel the Sunday trip. On the Saturday visitors enjoyed watching and photographing the hares, 2 of which very obligingly sat pretty much all day out in the open moving only an inch or so to make themselves comfortable.

The hares on Havergate island were introduced in the 1930s probably as a food source for the farming community living there at the time. The population has always stayed pretty steady at about 30 hares only really suffering major loss during the large tidal surges. However the population always seem to recover and steadily rise again.

Hares breed between February and September so it’s not surprising we have already spotted a Leveret (baby hare). We guess it is about 4 weeks old and we often see him sunning himself on the shingle next to the huts. Sorry about the picture I only had my phone on me! But you can see how well camouflaged they are

Here are some interesting facts about the Havergate hares put together by Sue one of our havergate guides.

  • Hares are the UKs fastest land mammal reaching speeds of around 45 mph. Havergate island is about 2 miles long, so a hare could run from one end to the other in around 2 minutes 40 seconds!
  • Hares live above ground and don’t burrow like rabbits. They make a shallow dip in the ground to rest in, often backing onto a tussock of grass – this is called a ‘form’.
  • New-born rabbits are blind, deaf and bald, but are born in the safety of an underground burrow; conversely, baby hares are born above ground in a shallow nursery form. They are born with eyes open, well developed  senses and a fur coat.