Leaping March Hares

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I thought these photos, that have been sitting in my folders for a while now, would be perfect for today. What with this year being a leap year, yesterday being leap day and today being March… what could be better than showing you a series of leaping March hares?!

Mad as a March Hare is an English expression that refers to hares that, usually shy and skittish, go completely crazy in the Spring.

This is, as we can see in the following photos and many others on the internet, basically true. Although the phenomenon happens all through the Spring and not only in March, hares can be seen boxing and leaping and bounding and head-butting each other. Oblivious to the rest of the world, they can be easily approached or, as in my case, have to be actively avoided: these two (and then three!) hares were fighting in the middle of the road. That’s why the photos have a strange quality to them: they’re taken through the windshield of the car!

Although it was once thought that only males displayed this behaviour, mainly to show their dominance and impress the females, recently scientists discovered that it’s often the females that we see, trying to box extremely enthusiastic males away.

Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” helped spread the knowledge of the madness of hares in March, by naming one of the two characters that have tea with Alice March Hare. And making him completely crazy. As Alice accepts teacups cut in half and other odd offers, she thinks

“The March Hare will be much the most interesting, and perhaps as this is May it won’t be raving mad – at least not so mad as it was in March.”

I hope you enjoy the photos – it was the first and only time (up to now!) that I saw hares going mad!

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