Every year people find young hares (leverets) crouching low and motionless in their 'forms' and, mistakenly believe they have found a young rabbit (kit) that requires rescuing. Sadly, all too often they have 'rescued' a totally healthy leveret that should have been left alone. Both leverets and rabbit kits are difficult to hand rear successfully, and should ALWAYS be left alone if at all possible.

Generic placeholder image Rabbit kits
Generic placeholder image New born leveret

In this country rabbits can start breeding as early as late January and will continue breeding through until the end of July, with most litters being born between April and May. However, some rabbits will continue to be born outside of these months. Hares on the other hand start to breed from mid-February through to mid-September. Rabbits are born in a burrow called a 'stop' and don't begin to emerge above ground until they are around 3 weeks old. A newborn rabbit kit looks nothing much like its parents. At birth they weigh approximately 30gm with tiny, almost useless legs, a naked body and with their eyes and ears closed. Leverets are the complete opposite to rabbit kits. They are born above ground in a 'form' and look like miniatures of their parents. A newborn leveret will weigh approximately 100gms, and is fully furred with its eyes and ears open. Shortly after birth they're mobile and move a short distance away from the birth site. They will remain motionless in their forms waiting for their mother to return and feed them, which is normally only twice in a day, early morning and evening. A female hare will always keep her distance from her young, unless it's feed time. This behaviour helps to prevent her scent attracting a predator to the spot where her leveret lies hidden.