Hares, Wild and Tame (Grade 5)

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Hares, Wild and Tame

The hare family is one of the largest of the animal kingdom. The hare is known as Master Lepus. It is found in almost every corner of the earth. Whether hiding in tropical thickets, or scampering on Alpine heights, or through the frozen regions of the North, it is always the same agile, shy, and stupid little beast. It has very long ears, often tipped with black. It has heavy whiskers growing from each cheek. Its hind-legs are very long. It is a fast runner, and can jump a great distance.

Hares are very common throughout the Northern United States. Their favorite haunts are overgrown old clearings, and thickets. They change their fur during winter. They throw off the pretty reddish-brown summer coat, and don one of white and dark fawn-color. The color of the fur, however, is so varied among hares that it is difficult to find two hares exactly alike.

This little creature will eat any juicy, tender food. For example, it loves the young buds in the spring, berries, and leaves. It is fond of cabbage leaves and other grains. It often does much damage to farmers' crops. It generally sleeps through the day. Morning and evening it jumps about in search of food, scampering here and there wherever it can find a sweet morsel to nibble.

The hare does not burrow its nest in the ground, like its cousin the rabbit. Instead it scratches together a little heap of dry grass, which makes a very good temporary home. The hare's nest is so in form with nature that a human could barely notice it. One may pass very near without suspecting that a little animal lies hidden.

Hares have no means of defending themselves, except their sharp toe-nails. However, they rarely think of using them. This means they fall an easy prey to the many enemies which attack them. They are vigorously hunted by men and dogs on account of the flavor of their meat. It has been thought necessary to place them under the protection of the game-laws. They are also the prey of foxes, wildcats, weasels, and many other animals. Although defenseless, they are still somewhat protected by their keen ear. It can catch the sound of the least rustle or movement. This warns the little beast against approaching danger.

The hare is the worst mother in the world. When her little ones are four or five days old, she leaves them unprotected in their nest. Then she scampers away to enjoy herself, returning once or twice, perhaps, to nurse her forlorn babies. Then she leaves them to shift for themselves. Many little ones, thus neglected, die of cold and hunger. Some are swooped up by hawks and owls. It is a strange fact that the mother hare makes no attempt to protect her babies, but will run away at the least signal of danger, and leave them to their fate. Hares have even been known themselves to bite their children to death. A young hare family remain together until they are half grown. Then they separate, continuing to live near their native spot. Hares are not travellers, and, unless disturbed, seldom change their home. They are very short-lived, and seldom attain the age of ten years.

Hares are good swimmers, but will not enter the water unless to avoid a foe. There is, however, one species of aquatic hare, found only in the Southern United States. It is amphibious, like the musk-rat and is a most expert swimmer. It makes its nest, or "form," on the edge of the morass. There it sleeps all day. Morning and evening it sallies forth for a swim. That's when it searches for the delicate water-plants upon which it feeds. The young ones enter the water at a very early age. They may be seen paddling about with the mother on a hunt for breakfast.

Tame hares make very pretty pets. They are very stupid about learning tricks, and are said to have very short memories. Hares which have escaped from their masters, and have been recaptured after a few days of freedom, have been found to be entirely wild. Its as if they retained no remembrance of all the petting which had been bestowed upon them. Dr. Benjamin Franklin is said to have had a pet hare. His hare lived on the most friendly terms with a greyhound and cat. It would often share the hearth-rug with them in the winter.
1. 
Why does the author claim the hare family is one of the largest in the world?
  1. It is comprised of many different types.
  2. It is found in nearly every area of the world.
  3. It is made up of many large animals.
  4. It is full of many popular creatures.
2. 
Which detail best explains why hares are swift runners?

It has very long ears, tipped with black, and heavy whiskers growing from each cheek. Its hind-legs are very long. It is a swift runner, and can jump a great distance.
  1. very long ears
  2. heavy whiskers
  3. long hind-legs
  4. changing fur
3. 
A hare is the same as a rabbit.
  1. True
  2. False
4. 
The author calls the hare a "stupid little beast". Which detail from the passage best supports this observation?
  1. A young hare family remain together until they are half grown, when they separate, continuing to live near their native spot, for hares are not travellers, and, unless disturbed, seldom change their home.
  2. The hare is the worst mother in the world. When her little ones are four or five days old, she leaves them unprotected in their nest, and scampers away to enjoy herself, returning once or twice, perhaps, to nurse her forlorn babies, and then leaving them to shift for themselves.
  3. Hares have no means of defending themselves, except their sharp toe-nails, which they rarely think of using, and they fall an easy prey to the many enemies which beset them.
  4. Hares are good swimmers, but will not enter the water unless to avoid a foe.
5. 
Based on the passage, you can infer that hares...
  1. love being pets and are easy to capture for that purpose
  2. are difficult to capture and tame as pets
  3. make poor pets because of their wild nature
  4. are hard to find and capture in the wild
6. 
Which word BEST describes a hare's nest?
  1. Burrow
  2. Camouflage
  3. Visible
  4. Large
7. 
When it comes to getting away from danger, the passage says which feature is a hare's best asset?
  1. Its long hind legs
  2. Its keen ears.
  3. Its sharp back claws.
  4. Its ability to swim.
8. 
Why does the author MOST LIKELY include the detail about Benjamin Franklin?
  1. To show the popularity of hares as pets
  2. To provide a specific example of a hare as a pet
  3. To show why hares don't always make good pets
  4. To explain how to tame a hare to make it a pet

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