rabbit vs hare
They are different species. Among the Russian-speaking there’s a wide misconception that the rabbit is a domestic animal only. If I heard “ We saw a rabbit in the wood”, I’d think it had escaped from its cage.
I wonder how the Enlish-speaking man in the street differentiate those.
I am asking because there’s been a debate about the translation.
Some people think that "hare" and "rabbit" are equivalent in the United States. Others know there is a difference.
No one thinks that rabbits are only domesticated animals in English-speaking countries. Some people think that "hare" is just another word for "rabbit", though.
SOME sounds rather vague. I’m speaking about the common conception. What would MOST people exclaim seeing it in the field or in a wood - “Look, a rabbit!” or “Look, a hare!” ?
The rabbit (a leporid animal - in Europe: oryctolagus cuniculus) and the hare (a leporid animal - in Europe: lepus europaeus) are two different species. Rabbits (affectionately known as bunnies) are smaller than hares, have shorter legs and shorter ears, and they are far more common. They are endemic in the British (and European) countryside, and they breed like...well, they breed like rabbits. In the 1950s the very virulent and distressing (to rabbits) disease myxomatosis almost wiped out the entire rabbit population in the UK, but they eventually recovered their numbers and even exceeded them owing to their very great powers of reproduction, and now they are all over the place, and from the train you can see their cute little white bobtails scurrying all over the verdant meadows and fields of the UK. Driving along country roads at night they have this horrible habit of darting out in front of your car then then becoming transfixed by your headlights - distressing for the motorist, and making it difficult to avoid if there are streams of vehicles approaching from the opposite direction and a collision is to be avoided. Often you see groups of baby rabbits enjoying the night air on the grass verges alongside the road - if they keep to the verges that's fine by me, but they don;t always, sadly! And Britain's roads are so busy, even at night....but there you go.
You see skinned rabbits at the butcher shops - rabbit pie has always been a staple dish in the UK but I don't like it - the meat is too stringy for me. To many people rabbits are a great pest - they eat crops and in your gardens your lettuces are a great delicacy for the wee bobtails, but they look so cute nibbling away at them. My stepdad would willingly take a pot shot at them and that's for sure! But he resists - he hasn't got a shot gun or even a licence to possess one.
On the farm, ev'ry Friday,
On the farm, it's rabbit pie day,
So ev'ry Friday that ever comes along,
I get up early,
And sing this little song........
Run rabbit, run rabbit ....run...run...run...
Don't give the farmer his fun...fun....fun....
He'll get by, without his rabbit pie,
So run, rabbit, run, rabbit....run...run...run...!
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Goes the farmer's gun!.
So run, rabbit, run, rabbit...run!...run!...run!
Easter is coming this weekend.....and the Easter Bunny takes pride of place among the chocolate Easter eggs....for some reason the rabbit has always been associated with Easter.
Hares....very distinctive...they are larger, and as it's now March they are performing their really weird mating rituals...so crazy and frenetic that you can refer to a similarly wild person as being "mad as a March hare". Males actually box with each other, both standing upright on their hind legs as they pack the punches.
The country sport of hare coursing is now illegal in the UK - at least, I think it is....much like fox hunting, and pubs called the Hare and Hounds or Fox and Hounds are mostly in areas where these "sports" were once carried out.
You don't hear the word "hare" used very much around here (upstate NY) -- maybe we don't have them? In fact, you don't see rabbits all that often around here, but the deer do a great job of eating up everything (and you see deer around here pretty much every day -- I sure wish the coyotes would get busy and kill off more of them.)
In Brazil people don't make a distinction, both lebre (hare) and coelho (rabbit) are called: coelho (rabbit).
we'd say 'bunny' for a domesticated rabbit
<<SOME sounds rather vague. I’m speaking about the common conception. What would MOST people exclaim seeing it in the field or in a wood - “Look, a rabbit!” or “Look, a hare!” ?>>
Definitely, "Look, a rabbit."
And what do you have in most popular tales, rabbits or hares? We (Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians) have hares, never rabbits.
And what you have as an affectionate "bunny" is "my little hare" here.
Although, as I have said, most farmers and crop producers view rabbits as pests - (as indeed they can be, but the same can be said of humans as well in their own way - it's certainly not rabbits who are destroying the world's eco systems!) - they are looked on with affection, simply for being cuddly bunnies with nice wee bob tails with cute white rumps.
It's for that reason that Richard Adams wrote "Watership Down", and why the book was adapted into a very cosy cartoon film featuring a colony of rabbits living in the maze of warrens below the real life Watership Down, just to the south of Newbury, Berkshire, England - extending into north Hampshire. Like much of the British countryside this area is alive with bunnies, hopping and bopping all over the meadows.
As for their cousins, the hares, it is true that the coursing of hares (having hounds chase after hares and tearing them to pieces when caught) is now banned in this country (as with fox hunting) although, as ever with things "illegal" , it is still carried on by small bands of unscrupulous people who "enjoy" this kind of blood lust. Down in England they once had something called the Waterloo Cup, an officially accepted Hare Coursing event held near Southport, on the Lancashire coast, before the ban came into effect. Thankfully, the hares can now relax, although rural police forces still have to investigate those illegal occurrences of coursing from time to time.
Hares can run very much faster than the rabbits, but so they should - they are larger and have longer legs. They needed them with all those hounds nipping at their tails!
Thank you very much, Damian and guests. I've seen the link.
In most cases (in lay contexts) “rabbit” should be translated into Russian as “çàÿö” (hare) and vice versa, because these words correspond to generic notions.
Bill Bryson in ''Made in America'' :
''Early colonists...misnamed plants and animals...The American rabbit is actually, a hare. That the first colonists couldn't tell the difference offers some testimony to their incompetence in the wild''
''In most cases (in lay contexts) “rabbit” should be translated into Russian as “çàÿö” (hare) and vice versa, because these words correspond to generic notions. ''
Colloquial Korean and Brazilian Portuguese does not distinguish between a mouse and a rat (both are called: a rat, and mouse is sometimes called: a little rat), but, in formal and medicine/biology technical language the difference should be kept, so in Brazil, mouse is said ''camundongo'' and rat is ''rato'' (differently than in Portugal where ''rato'' is mouse, and ''ratazana'' is rat; so in accurate technical language, RATO is rat in Brazil, and mouse in Portugal). Is it important to distinguish between two? Yes and no.
>>''Early colonists...misnamed plants and animals...The American rabbit is actually, a hare. That the first colonists couldn't tell the difference offers some testimony to their incompetence in the wild''<<
The animals usually referred to here as "rabbits" in the US and Canada are cottontails, which are a group of rabbit and not hare species, but at the same time are a distinctly different group of species from the European Rabbit. On the other hand, "jackrabbits" in North America are actually hares and not rabbits.