Albino European Hare (Lepus europaeus)

Albino European Hare (Lepus europaeus)

When roaming around the Zuidlaardermeer-area my eye was suddenly caught by something extraordinary. There in the middle of the road stood a hare (Lepus europaeus). Hares are quite common but this one was white like snow, and that is quite uncommon. Albino hares are extremely rare. As far as I know there were only two previous sightings of albino-hares in the Netherlands. The first one dated early July 2009 and the second one from the end of May 2010. Both a considerable distance away  (roughly 30 and 50 km) from the location were I spotted the animal.

Is it the same animal? In the wild hares can reach ages up to 12 years old. But then again, hares tend to be very home loving and do not travel great distances. Maybe albinos are not very popular amongst the  other hares and the poor thing is forced to wander large distances. Maybe hunters are surprised to see a white hare and do not shoot it. Maybe its white fur is an advantage when crossing roads where it is more likely to attract the attention of drivers….  A lot of maybe’s and questions. How a simple encounter can raise so many questions.