Irish Hare

Lepus timidus hibernicus

  1. Wildlife
  2. Mammals
  3. Irish Hare


Irish Hares can only be found in Ireland, but are a subspecies of the Mountain Hare. They feed mostly on grasses, but also eat heather, bilberries and even seaweed in coastal areas. They feed mostly at night, resting during the day in scraped out hollows called 'forms'. When disturbed, Hares can be seen bounding across the moors using their powerful hind legs to propel them forwards, often in a zigzag pattern.

How to identify

In summer, Irish Hares have a brown coat with a reddish tinge which is not as shaggy as a Mountain Hare's coat. Irish hares may remain brown in winter, but Mountain Hares turn white. Irish hares have black tips on their ears, are larger than Rabbits, but smaller than Brown Hares and have shorter ears.

Where to find it

Only found in Ireland.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Irish Hares are restricted to parts of Ireland, making it extremely vulnerable to habitat loss and change. Its favoured home of upland heaths and moors are under threat from poor management, deforestation and peat extraction. Working on a local level, The Wildlife Trusts are looking after our upland habitats to restore them and prevent further damage. Volunteers are vital to this work - much of what the organisation achieves simply wouldn't happen without their help. So why not have a go at volunteering for your local Trust? You'll make new friends, learn new skills and help wildlife along the way.

Species information

Common name
Irish Hare
Latin name
Lepus timidus hibernicus
Length: 50cm Weight: 3-4kg Average lifespan: 4 years
Conservation status
A Priority Species in the all Ireland Biodiversity Action Plan.