The Irish Hare and RHD

The Irish hare Lepus timidus hibernicus - graceful in the countryside The Irish hare Lepus timidus hibernicus - graceful in the countryside Panoramic Ireland Photography Workshops

The Irish hare Lepus timidus hibernicus is a distinct subspecies of the mountain hares found all over the northern latitudes of the northern hemisphere. All Lepus timidus except hibernicus change their coats of fur to white in winter to match with typical winter conditions of snow at such northerly latitudes. But due to Ireland's mild climate and lack of white snow covering the landscape, the local hares keep a brown coat all winter long - an evolutionary change that makes the Irish hare unique.

Unfortunately, an extremely contagious disease known as RHD Rabbit haemorrhagic disease and a variant RHD2 has made it to Ireland.

The disease affects rabbits and hares, it is extremely contagious and cause death rapidly.

It's too early to tell what effects the disease will have on Ireland's unique hares but it would be sad not to see these graceful mammals in the Irish countryside.

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