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TUS COMMON FARE,
This animal is found throughout Europe, and indeed in most of the northern parts of the world. Being destitute of weapons of defence, it is endowed, by Providence, with an unusual degree ot' fear.
Its timidity is known to every one: it is attentive to every alarm, and is, therefore, furnished with ears very long and tubular, which catch the remotest sounds. The eyes are so prominent, as to enable the ani. mal to see both before and behind.
The Hare feeds in the evenings, and sleeps in his form during the day; and, as he generally lies on the ground, his feet are protected, both above and below, with a thick covering of hair. In a moonlight evening many Hares may frequently be seen sporting together, leaping about and pursuing each other; but the least noise alarms them, and they then scamper off, each in a different direction. Their pace is a kind of gallop, or quick succession of leaps; and they are extremely swift particularly in ascending the higher grounds, to which, when pursued, they generally have recourse; here their large and strong hind legs are of singular use to them.
During winter they generally choose a form exposed to the south, that they may obtain all the possible warmth of that season, and in summer, when they are desirous of shunning the hot rays of the sun, they change this for one with a northerly aspect; but, in both cases, they have the instinct of generally fixing upon a place where the surrounding objects are nearly of the color of their own bodies.
It was observed of one Hare, that, as soon as the Dogs were heard, though at a distance of nearly a mile, she rose from her form, swam across a rivulet, then lay down among the bushes on the other side, and by this means evaded the scent of the hounds. When a Hare has been chased for a considerable length of time, she will sometimes push another Hare from its seat, and lie down there herself. When hard pressed, she will mingle with a flock of Sheep, run up an olel wall, and conceal herself among the grass on the top of it, or cross a river several times at small distances. She never runs in a line directly forward; but constantly doubles about, which freqnently throws the Dogs out of the scent: and she generally goes against the wind. It is remarkable that Hares, however frequently pursued by the Dogs, seldom leave the place where they were brought forth, or that in which they usually sit; and it is a common thing to find them, aster a long and severe chase, in the same place on the following day.
The females have less strength and agility than the males: they are, consequently, more timid; and never suffer the Dogs to approach them so near, before they rise, as the males. They are likewise said to practise more arts, and to double more frequently.
This animal is gentle, and susceptible even of education. But, though it exhibits some degree of attachment to its master, the Hare does not often become altogether domestic: for, even when taken very young, brought up in a house, and accustomed to kindness and attention, no sooner is it arrived at a certain age, than it generally seizes the first opportunity of recovering its liberty, and escaping to the fields. Whilst Dr. Townsend was at Göttingen, a young Hare was brought
to him, which he took so much pains with, as to render it more familiar than these animals commonly are. In the evenings it was so frolic 80 me, that it would run and jump about his sofa and bed. Sometimes, in its play, it would leap upon and pat him with
its fore-feet; or BOYS TRAPPING HARES
whilst he was reading, would even knock the book out of his hand. But whenever a stranger entered the room, the little animal always exhibited con siderable alarm.
Mr. Borlase saw a Hare that was so familiar as to feed from the hand, lie under a chair in a common sitting-room, and appear, in every other respect, as easy and comfortable in its situation as a Lapdog. It now and then went out into the Garden, but after regaling itself, always returned to the house, as its proper habitation. Its usual companions were a Greyhound and a Spaniel, both so fond of Hare-hunting, that they often went out together for that purpose, without any person accompanying them. With these two dogs this tame Hare spent its evenings: they always slept on the same hearth, and it would frequently rest itself upon them.
Dogs and Foxes pursue the Hare by instinct: Wild Cats, Weasels.
and birds of prey, devour it; and man, far more powerful than all its other enemies, makes use of every artifice to seize upon an animal which constitutes one of the numerous delicacies of bis table. This defenceless animal is even rendered by him an object of amusement in the chase.
The period of gestation in the Hare is about a month; and the females generally produce three or four young ones at a litter, and this about four times in the year. The eyes of these are open at their birth: the mother suckles them about twenty days, after which they leave her and procure their own food. They make forms at a little distance from each other, and never go far from the place where they were brought forth. The Hare lives about eight years.
several times in the year, and generally produce seven or eight young ones at a time. Supposing this to happen regularly for about four
years, the pro yeny from a sin
. gle pair will in this period amount to more than a million. Their numerous enemies prevent any increase likely to prove injurious to man. kind; for besides their affording food to us, they are devoured by
animals of prey 7
of almost every description,
which make dreadful havoc among them. Notwithstanding all these means of destruction, the Rabbits in the Balearic islands once proved such a nuisance, that the inhabitants were obliged to implore the assistance of a military force from Augustus, the Roman emperor, to exterminate them.
The female goes with young about thirty days. A short time previously to her littering, if she does not tind a hole suited to her purpose, she digs one; not in a straight line, but of a zig-zag form. The bottom of this she enlarges every way; and then, with a quantity of hair, which she pulls from her own Loly, she makes a warm and comfortable bed for her offspring During the whole of the first two
days she never leaves them, except when compelled by hunger to do so; and then she eats with surprising quickness, and immediately returns. She always conceals them from the male, lest he should devour them; and therefore, when she goes out, she covers up the hole so carefully, that its place is scarcely perceptible to the eye.
In this manner she continues her attention for about a month by which tiine they
are able to provide for themselves. Notwithstanding the unaccountable propensity which the male has to devour its young-ones, yet, when these are somewhat grown, and are brought by the mother to the mouth of the hole, to eat such vegetables as she gets for them, he seems to know them, takes them between his paws, smooths their hair, and caresses them with great tenderness.
Rabbits, as they cannot easily articulate sounds, and are formed into societies that live under ground, have a singular mode of giving alarm. When danger is threatened, they thump on the earth with one of their hind feet; and thus produce a sound that can be heard a great way by animals near the surface. This, Dr. Darwin, from its singularity, and its aptness to the situation of the animals, concludes to be an artificial sign, and merely acquired from their having experienced its utility. He will not allow of any thing like an instinctive propensity.
A friend of Dr. Robert Anderson of Edinburgh, had a singular breed of Rabbits, with only one ear. These propagated as fast, and as constantly produced their like, as the two-eared Rabbits from which they were originally descended.
The fur of the Rabbit is useful in the manufacture of hats
THE ALPINE HARE,
THE ALPINB RARE.
The Alpine Hare is about nine inches in length. ' It has a long head and whiskers; and above each eye there are two very long hairs. The ears are short and rounded. The fur is dusky at the roots, and of a bright bay color at the end slightly tipped with white, and intermixed with long dusky hairs: at first sight, however, the animals seem of a bright, unmixed bay color.
The most southern residence of these animals is on the Alpaic chain of mountains, near the lake of Baikal, in Siberia; and they extem from that part of the country as far northward as to Kamschatka. They are always found in the middle regions of the snowy mountains, where these are clad with wood, and where herbs and moisture abound. They sometimes burrow between the rocks, but more frequently lodge in the crevices. They are generally found in pairs; but in bad weather, they collect together, lie on the rocks, and whistle so much like the chirp of sparrows, as easily to deceive the hearer. At the report of a gun they run off into their holes; whence, however, if nothing more is heard, they soon return.
By the usual wonderful instinct of similar animals, they make a provision in their inclement seats against the rigorous season. A company of thom, towards autumn, collect tog 'ther vast heaps of favorite herbs and gras's; which they place either beneath the over