We were excited to see a brown hare running around Chelworth Solar Array last week. We saw a lot of hare poop on the rocks and ground, which proves that these animals really love to hang out at the site!
From a biodiversity point this is an important milestone. The brown hare population in the UK has undergone a sharp decline of 80% over the past 100 years as a consequence of habitat loss—due to changes in agricultural practices and land use. In some areas of the country they are considered to be locally extinct, being its decline one of the greatest of all British mammals apart from the water vole.
The good news is that in Wiltshire they can still be widely seen, especially in the Upper Thames and Cotswold Wildlife Park regions.
The brown hare is an iconic species of arable and grassland, and it can also be spotted in open country and woodland. As stated by our partner Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, they are easy to tell apart from rabbits, being about twice the size, with golden-brown (not grey) fur, a short black and white tail and white underparts. They have large, black-tipped ears and long, powerful hind legs. They stand about 52-59 cm tall and weigh around 3-4 kg.