Hares are dispersed over almost every climate, and, though hunted in all countries, their species does not apparently diminish in number. They breed in the first year, and the female generally produces four or five leverets, after a gestation of about thirty days. Unlike dogs, the eyes of these animals are open at their birth ; and, after being suckled for about three weeks, they are abandoned to their own fate.
Hares are remarkably infested by fleas. - According to Ljnnaeus, the Dalecarlians manufacture a species of cloth, or felt, from the fur of this creature, which, by attracting the insects, preserves the wearer from their troublesome attacks. Hares wool forms an important article in the manufacture of hats ; and pays, on importation', a duty of only 1s. l0d. per lb. ; as sufficient quantities of it cannot be procured in Britain.
Hares are of a gentle disposition, susceptible of a kind of education, and, if taken very young, may easily be domesticated. They attain the age of about seven or eight years, and their proper food is grass, cabbages, and other plants. Sow-thistle, dandelion, and lettuce, are to them peculiarly agreeable.
These animals frequently inflict great injury to trees, by barking them. Beside the hints already given (p. 141), for the prevention of this mischief, we learn from M. de Ehrenfels, a German writer, that trees may be effectually se-cured from their depredations, by anointing the bark in autumn, se-veral feet high, . with hog's-lard, and sometimes also besmearing them with ox-gall. - Another remedy, which appears to be more efficacious, and salutary rather man hurtful to the vegetation of the tree, consists in scattering occasionally small quantities of soot round the stem : this expedient has for many years been successfully practised in Scotland.
In order to prevent hares from devouring the young cabbage or brocoli, and other succulent plants, it has been recommended to dip their roots in the following preparation, before they are transplanted : Take the parings of old cheese, soak them in water, and preserve it till spring: then stir into the liquor such a quantity of clay as will form a pulpy mass.—. We have had no experience of this medication ; though it is affirmed, that it not only secures the future plants from the attacks of hares, but its exhalations are so obnoxious to those depredators, that they will not frequent gardens where vegetables thus prepared are growing.
With regard to its physical properties, the flesh of hare is more palatable in winter ; and those bred in elevated countries are most esteemed. Nor should this animal be chased till it drops ; for thus its flesh is rendered less digestible, and less wholesome : in other re-spects, its qualities are similar to those of Deer.