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A hare is a species closely related to a rabbit. People unfamiliar with animals sometimes confuse the two animals, but there are several ways to tell them apart, the most reliable being that hares are larger and have longer legs.
Hares often live out in the open, and are far more athletic than rabbits; rabbits can sprint very fast (useful for a dash back to a nearby burrow) but tire of this quickly, whilst the stronger-hearted hare can run at high speeds for long distances.
A familiar hare is the brown hare, Lepus europaeus, which has sandy to rusty fur; long, black-tipped ears; and glassy-looking yellow eyes. Other popular species of hare include the arctic hare, the mountain hare and the snowshoe hare.
Jackrabbits, despite their name, are also hares.
Hares in CIS
Hares are much more widespread in Eurasia than rabbits, and because of that they are "default" Lagomorph for Russia, Ukraine and most of CIS countries. Fairy tales about forest animals usually included hares. In USSR, there were many children books and animations created which had hares among other talking forest creatures. Hares usually represented the archetype of a person who likes to brag and tell tall tales, but in a real situation is compelled to act like a coward. Zayats from Soviet cartoon "Nu, Pogodi!", one of the most recognized Soviet characters, is a hare, and his name translates to just "Hare" (although he doesn't follow the usual archetype).
The Russian equivalent word for "bunny" is "зайчик" (zaychik) which is diminutive form of "hare" (заяц zayats). It's not usually applied to rabbits, but sometimes is, because "кролик" (krolik, Russian word for rabbit) doesn't have diminutive form.
In post-USSR years, Western culture rushed into CIS and rabbits gained much recognition. Such cartoons as Tiny Toons, Looney Tunes, Who Framed Roger Rabbit became base of the toonster culture (which shares roots with Russian furry fandom). Other popular Western animations that inspired Russian furry fandom, like The Lion King and Balto, either didn't have lagomorphs or had rabbits. As a result, rabbits are popular among Russian furries, but hares are almost unheard of.
- This is because the word itself is a diminutive form of now rarely used regular word for rabbits ("кроль" krol`). But in modern language "krolik" s not perceived as diminutive.