Four baby hares have been rescued by Scottish SPCA (Scotland's Animal Welfare Charity) from a garden in Kelso (Scottish Gaelic: Cealsaidh) a market town in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. A hare that is less than one year old is called a leveret and the ones found were about a week-old. Hares bear their young in a shallow depression or flattened nest of grass called a form. Unlike rabbits, which are born in a burrow, the leveret has less physical protection, and so are adapted to this by being born fully furred and with eyes open. They are visited by their mother once or twice a day for only a few minutes to feed.
The rescued leverets were found on their own. Normally if a leveret is found alone it is advised that you do not touch them. They are likely not to have been abandoned and are doing as they are meant to do, laying still in their form waiting for the mother to come and feed them. Hares stand a much better chance of survival with their mother. However, if there are real concerns about the animals welfare then it is best to contact the relevant animal protection agency before you do anything.
In this particular case the Scottish SPCA said it would normally have left them alone but there were concerns about a cat attacking them. As reported by BBC Scotland they are being cared for at the National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fishcross. Centre manager Colin Seddon said: "If they hadn't been in danger of an attack we would have left them as the mother hare will usually leave them in long grass, under a hedge or in woodlands and will visit them daily at dusk or dawn to feed for roughly 20 minutes. "So far the little guys are being hand reared and are feeding well. They should be ready for release at about eight weeks once they are self-feeding and have spent some time in our outdoor aviaries."
Hares are remarkable animals which hold a special place in Celtic mythology and folklore. So it good that these leverets are being cared for and prepared to be returned to the wild.