Mountain hare

This is Scotland’s native hare, the brown hare having been introduced by the Romans and the rabbit by the Normans; it has been pushed out of its original lowland range by these species. They are smaller and more sociable than the brown hare. It is one of the few mammals in the UK that have distinctive winter and summer coats.

One of the best times of year to see mountain hares is in the spring when there has been a snow melt and their white winter coats give them away on the open hillsides. However, if there are a few patches of snow left they will rest on these areas which easily avoids them being seen.  In late spring they moult and look similar to brown hares.

They can be found in the Highlands on heather moorland above 300 metres. They can be seen in numbers on leeward slopes during times of snow cover where they congregate where the snow is thinner and they can dig down to eat shrubs and heather.

These hares naturally fluctuate in numbers and during the growth in a population a female can produce up to 12 offspring. The young are called leverets and are born fully furred with their eyes open. Mountain hares are food foreagle, wildcats and foxes.