European Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus Pall.) In Estonia, the European or brown hare is a species that settled in the area from the south about 200-300 years ago when a part of their forest habitats had been replaced by fields. As a result it is also called the field hare. As the scientific name indicates it has spread throughout Europe and is absent only in northern parts of Scandinavia. The European hare is the biggest species of the genus Lepus, weighing from four to five (up to 7.4) kilograms and bearing one to six (seven) well-developed offspring, whom it suckles for about one month. The number of those small game animals has fallen throughout Europe during the past half-century. The reasons are varied, starting from numerous carnivores, birds of prey, extensive agriculture and its chemisation to viral diseases. As late as in the 1960s more than 10,000 European hares were hunted and more than 100,000 of them were counted in Estonia. At the beginning of the 21st century hardly 1,000 animals a year are shot. No counts are being carried out at present, but the number of European brown hares is assessed at slightly above 20,000.