12 days of a (wildlife) Christmas - Ten hares a-leaping

Brown hare - Jim Higham 

Christmas is in the air and here in Ipswich we’re starting to feel festive. Join our Wild Learning Officer in the run up to Christmas by celebrating some of the town’s wild spaces and species as we adapt the well-known words of 12 days of Christmas. Traditionally for the tenth day of Christmas we’d be receiving ten lords a-leaping , instead we’ve swapped them for ten hares a leaping.

Able to run an extremely impressive 45mph, hares can be found running across open farmland, grassland and along woodland edges. Spending their time in the open, hares rely on their yellow flecked fur to keep them camouflaged and their powerful hind legs to evade predators. They create shallow depressions in soil or grass called forms, from which they venture out from to feed, returning back in the evening.

Come the spring, you can often see hares fighting standing on their hind legs fighting each other with their front legs, to give the impression that they are boxing. Whilst it is often thought to be two males fighting, it is more likely to be male and female as the female tries to ward off any male that is over amorous.

You can often see hares leaping across fields in their distinctive zig-zagged pattern, but be quick as they’re likely to be gone in just a flash. Why not have a look out for them on the many fields that surround the outskirts of Ipswich?