The broom hare typically shelters among scrub or trees during the day, moving into pastures and clearings at night to feed. However, it rarely ventures far from shelter in case of attack by predators (2) (3). Unlike rabbits, hare species rarely dig burrows, instead typically resting in depressions in the ground or vegetation, known as ‘forms’, and relying on their camouflage and strong running abilities to escape danger (7) (8).
The diet of the broom hare consists mainly of grasses and other herbaceous vegetation typical of mountain grasslands, and it often moves into recently burned areas of scrub to feed on tender new shoots (2) (3). Like other hares and rabbits, the broom hare is likely to maximise the nutrients gained from its food by re-ingesting its faeces, so that food passes through the digestive tract twice (7) (8).
There is little information available on reproduction in the broom hare, but it has been observed mating in April and May (2). The breeding season of this species is likely to be shorter than that of the brown hare (L. europaeus) and Iberian hare (L. granatensis) due to the limitations of its high altitude habitat, but in other respects its reproductive behaviour is likely to be similar to that of other hare species (2) (3).
Most hare species are largely solitary outside of the mating season. Female hares usually give birth to between one and nine young at a time, with species in temperate areas typically having one or two large litters each year, while those nearer the equator can have up to eight litters of one to two young each year (4) (7) (8). Overall, this gives a fairly standard value of about ten young per female per year for most hare species (4) (7).
Young hares are born after a gestation period of around 40 to 50 days and are well developed at birth, being fully furred, with open eyes, and able to move about shortly after birth (4) (5) (7) (8). The young are typically born in an open place or in a shallow depression on the ground, and soon separate from each other and from the female, hiding in vegetation and only coming back together for very brief periods of suckling by the female (5) (7) (8). The female hare’s milk is highly nutritious, and the young are usually weaned after around 17 to 23 days (7).
In general, young hares do not usually breed in their first year of life (8). Most hares do not survive beyond their first year, but those that do can sometimes reach up to five years of age (7).