Bunny paddle! Moment a hare is forced to swim for its life and leaps into choppy waters after being startled by a postman
This is the extraordinary moment a startled hare was forced to swim for its life after leaping into choppy waters.
The hare was pictured desperately paddling against the raging torrent at Chanonry Point in Scotland after being accidentally startled by an off-duty postman.
Martin Loftus, 39, was on a holiday in the Scottish highlands and had hoped to see the famous Moray Firth dolphins.
Instead, the amateur photographer, from Bury, Greater Manchester, was nearly forced to jump in and save the animal before it thankfully made its way back to the shore unaided.
The startled hare was pictured desperately paddling against the raging torrent at Chanonry Point in Scotland after jumping into the water
The animal was seen leaping into the choppy waters after being accidentally startled by off-duty postman 39-year-old Martin Loftus
The amateur photographer, from Bury, Greater Manchester, was nearly forced to jump in and save the hare before it thankfully made its way back to the shore unaided
Martin said: ‘One early morning I walked onto the beach and accidentally startled this hare.
‘Instead of just running left or right along the beach, it decided that the safest option was to tombstone straight into the Moray Firth and swim out about 50 feet into a raging torrent.
‘I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
Martin, who was on a holiday in the Scottish highlands and had hoped to see the famous Moray Firth dolphins, startled the hare before it swam out about 50 feet into a raging torrent
The off-duty postman said he had become worried about the hare as he watched it ‘slowly drifting away in the current, getting weaker and weaker’
The hare managed to get itself back on to dry land and regained some composure before running back past Martin and toward cover
‘Straight away I ran back out of its sight hoping it would swim back in but instead I watched it slowly drifting away in the current, getting weaker and weaker.
‘I was on the verge of getting ready to swim out and save it when it suddenly managed to get itself back onto dry land.
‘It had a moment to regain some composure until a herring gull started attacking it and it then ran past me back towards the golf course and under cover.’
Hares are widespread across the UK – but their numbers are declining
Hares, which can be identified by their long ears and quick pace, can be seen all year round and are widespread across the UK – but their numbers are declining.
They tend to be between 50-70cm in length, 2-5kg in weight, enjoy a lifespan of between two and four years and are able to reach speeds of 45mph when evading predators.
Thought to have been introduced into the UK in Roman times, the brown hare is now considered naturalised.
They graze on vegetation and the bark of young trees and bushes. Rather than digging burrows – like rabbits – they shelter in shallow depressions in the ground or grass known as ‘forms’.
When disturbed, they can be seen bounding across the fields, using their powerful hind legs to propel them forwards, which also give them the ability to swim short distances.
Brown hares are at their most visible in early spring when the breeding season encourages fighting or ‘boxing’.
Females can produce three to four litters of two to four young (known as leverets) a year.
Source: Wildlife Trusts