Cold Ashby Blog/Open Forum

Some rambling thoughts and observations on local and national issues.

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Brown Hares Under Threat?

by Ashby Rambler - 15:10 on 01 February 2019



The Rambler has been somewhat saddened this week by an article in The Guardian (25th January 2019), headlined Deadly rabbit virus threatens UK brown hare population.

(Böhringer Friedrich [CC BY-SA 2.5 (], from Wikimedia Commons)

He has paused to watch hares locally several times over the years and vividly remembers inadvertently startling an impressively large and fast specimen when walking from Bridge 31 to Stanford in May 2017.

Hares are apparently not officially a native species but since they appear to have arrived with migrating farmers in the Iron Age, or possibly to have been introduced by the Romans in that period it is hardly surprising that we regard them with affection as our own.

The phenomenon of their strange mating behaviour and ‘boxing’ which has given us the expression ‘Mad as a March Hare’, the inspiration for Carroll’s tea-party guest and Tenniel’s iconic illustrations, is now understood to be a contest between the female and male, rather than a competition between males.

Should you have the unfortunate experience of finding an obviously sick or dead hare whilst rambling, you might consider emailing Dr Diana Bell of the University of East Anglia who is leading research in this area.

For more information please click or tap on the Guardian Link above.




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