The Physics
An encyclopedia of scientific essays

Speed of a Rabbit or Hare

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Bibliographic Entry Result
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Giancoli, Douglas C. Physics. 247. "A rabbit travels 4.0 km in 3.5 h. What is its average speed m/s?" 0.32 m/s
Rabbits & Hares. Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2001. "The fastest of the rabbits and hares, Jack rabbits achieve speeds of about 70 km/h (about 45 mph) and can …." 20 m/s
Rabbit and Hare Hunting In Ontario. "To escape predators the [Eastern Cottontail] rely on a burst of speed (30 mph) and a zig zag motion to evade predators however it cannot keep up this speed for long." 13 m/s
"It [Snowshoe Hare] has a top speed 27-30 mph., can jump 10 ft in one hop, is a good swimmer and will jump in the water to make an escape." 12–13 m/s
Doherty, James G. Natural History. March 1974. as cited in Speed of Animals. InfoPlease Kid's Almanac. "Rabbit (domestic) 35.00 mph" 16 m/s
Helicon Publishing Ltd. 2000. "Rabbit (domestic) 56 kph 35 mph" 16 m/s

Rabbits are generally broken down into two types regarding speed, cottontail rabbits and jackrabbits. The faster of the two by far is the jackrabbit. This is so because of the life style that these two have. Very long legs and ears characterize the jackrabbit. Jackrabbits are powerful jumpers and fast runners. In normal progress leaps are alternated with running steps, when pursued the hare runs fast and close to the ground. They can achieve Speeds up to 45 mph. The cottontail rabbits have large ears and short legs and moves with a scurrying or scampering gait, they dig their own burrows and make a nest in a depression in the ground. Unlike the jackrabbit, they seek protection in hiding rather than in swift flight. They can achieve speeds up to 35 mph. Therefore if you do not have a specific rabbit to measure the speed for it will be a guess between 35 to 45 mph or 15 to 20 m/s.

All the sources seemed to be accurate except the text book source. This is a result of lack of common sense. A rabbit is not physically capable of travelling 4 km therefore its speed is oddly low compared to the rest of them.

Robert Cohen -- 2001