Monday, December 20, 2010

He's got the white idea: Photographer camouflages himself in the snow to capture amazing pictures of mating hares


Hare raising: These dramatic pictures of male hares battling to mate with females in thick snow were taken in Thixendale, Yorkshire

Dressed top to toe in a white spaceman-style suit, this photographer is certainly dressed to withstand the Big Freeze.

But the bizarre outfit was not only to keep out the cold - Robert Fuller needed to be incognito as he lurked to take pictures of hares in the snow.

The disguise - which even involved wrapping his camera in white - paid off when he managed to capture over 50 of the animals on a hill in Yorkshire.

Snow business: Photographer Robert Fuller and his camera decked out in full 'snow camouflage' enabled him to get closer to the group of hares so he could take these close up shots of them courting

It is unusual to see so many hares at once, but they mate several times a year and their amorous side was clearly not cooled by the blanket of snow.

The males box with the females to show their strength and when she is ready the female literally hares off.

The males chase her and the winning athlete can then pass on his genes.

These hares were pictured near Thixendale in Yorkshire and their leverets will be the first of the new year.

Dancing with hares: Photographer Robert Fuller says the snow could be one reason why the hares come together, just as sheep herd and fish swim in a school to protect each other

Run rabbit run: It is the fittest and quickest hare who gets to mate with the female. This kind of courting ritual happens several times a year, not just in March

Mr Fuller, 38, said that the hares didn't do much until a beam of sun made it through the cloud, and then they leapt into action.

The animals return to the same areas each time they mate, which is one reason why so many congregated at this spot.

However, the snow might also be one reason why they chose to come together - possibly as a defence mechanism similar to herding or the schooling of fish.

Mr Fuller, an artist and photographer who runs a gallery in Thixendale, was camouflaged in white clothing to allow him to get close enough to the hares.

A good hare day: It is unusual to see so many hares at once and the photographer says at one point he counted 51 of them grouped together in the blanket of snow

Courting display: When the females are ready to mate they run off and the males chase them. But if the female is too fast and cannot be caught, she often has to stop and run back

He said: 'It is unusual to see so many at once and at one point I counted 51 of them.
'It was quite a sight to see them in the snow and watch them courting. The males box the females when they are in season.

'When the females are ready they run off and the males chase them. Sometimes I've seen the males unable to catch her and she's had to stop and come back.

'It is the fittest and quickest hare who gets to mate with her. It happens several times a year, not just in March as some people think.'

source: dailymail

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