COLUMN: Hares set to go '˜mad' in March

It's march, and it's the time connected with the expression '˜mad as a march hare.'

Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 9:30 am

This saying comes about as in this month these beautiful creatures seem to go completely bananas.

They can be seen ‘boxing’ and leaping about, swiping out with their paws.

It was thought that it was two males sparring, but now it is know that the spat is with a female and an over-enthusiastic male admirer.

The female hare often ‘tests’ the male by making him chase her.

If he catches her it proves he is fit and a good mate. 
The Peak District is known as a good place to see both kinds of hares found in the UK, the Brown Hare and the Mountain Hare. Mountain Hares begin to turn white in the autumn and most are white by December.

They begin to regain their brown summer coat around March. Mountain Hares in the Peak are said to be the only population in Great Britain, outside Scotland.

Many cultures contain a story about ‘the hare in the moon’ as some of the dark shadows across the moon’s surface are thought to form the hare shape. Another link with this time of year and the hare is Easter.

It’s often told that the hare was associated with the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre and fertility. Hares can conceive when already pregnant. This link suggests the goddess symbol was absorbed into Easter as the Easter bunny and chocolate eggs are symbols of rebirth.