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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

This week, facts about... hares. The Chinese New Year begins on February 16 and this year is the year of the hare.


KNOY: Valentine's Day isn't the only holiday to celebrate this week. February 16 marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year, and this is the Year of the Hare. Though hares are usually called rabbits and rabbits are sometimes called hares, each is in a genus of its own. In general, hares are larger than rabbits, but the main distinction between the 2 is that hares are born with a full coat of fur and with their eyes open, whereas rabbits are born blind and hairless. Hares generally have grayish-brown fur, though some species molt to white in winter. So-called jackrabbits and snowshoe rabbits are actually true hares, while the Belgian hare is really a rabbit. And to get even pickier, cottontails aren't exactly rabbits or hares. They're in another genus altogether. And then there are those famous fictional hares, of course. The fabled rival of the tortoise, for one, and perhaps the most popular hare of all, Bugs Bunny, who will celebrate his 60th birthday next year. Though known as a "wascally wabbit," his first cinematic role reveals his true scientific moniker. The cartoon's title: A Wild Hare. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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