Wednesday, 4 March 2009

March Hares

To be as "mad as a March hare" is an English phrase derived from the observed antics, said to occur (incorrectly, according to some sources) only in the March breeding season of the Hare. The phrase can also be used to refer to any other animal or human who behaves in this excitable and unpredictable manner.

The reference to being 'As Mad as a March Hare' first appeared in Chaucer's Friar's Tale in the 14th century.
The most famous March hare however, of course, appears in the tea party scene in Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures In Wonderland".

Alice hypothesises,

"The March Hare will be much the most interesting, and perhaps as this is May it won't be raving mad -- at least not so mad as it was in March!"

I love this depiction of the Mad March Hare by Natasha Wescoat.. I checked out her website after finding this picture online, and she has some very unusual, bright, whimsical paintings.. very modern, yet very cute and traditional at the same time.

Hares are also well known for their peculiar and comical boxing behaviour in early spring, which is their breeding season..

.. when the hares box as part of their courtship ritual – the 'boxing' is actually females battling off unwanted advances from the males.
I don't think I have ever had the pleasure of this curious sight in Nature, but would love to... have you??


  1. Lovely Hare pictures, No I`ve never seen them boxing, but Pete and I must have seen seven running over the fields when we biked from Beccles to Southwold one sunny day...lovely `stretch Bunnies` reallyxxx

  2. How bizarre, my wife and I saw two boxing hares on a field near Shrewsbury in Shropshire today. I have been a keen amateur naturalist all my life but until today had never seen this magnificent spectacle. The Hare population in England has decreased by 75% in the last 50 years and they are extinct in certain Counties. I stumbled across your blog as I searched for images of March Hares, funny old World isn't it?