Friday, May 18, 2018

Fairport Convention – "The Bonny Black Hare" (1971)

If your powder is willing
And your bullets play fair
Why don't you keep firing
At the bonny black hare?

Thanks to the previous 2 or 3 lines, you now know the difference between alligators and crocodiles.  But do you know the difference between rabbits and hares? 

Rabbits and hares are members of the same animal family – Leporidae – so they are more closely related than alligators and crocodiles (which belong to distinct animal families).  

But there are a number of differences between hares and rabbits, the most significant of which is that hares are relatively mature when they are born while newborn rabbits are blind, hairless, and completely dependent upon their mothers.  (That last part sounds a lot like my children until they reached the age of 30 or so.) 

Rabbit (left) vs. hare (right)
Also, hares are usually larger than rabbits, with more elongated ears and larger hind legs. 

And unlike hares, which live a relatively solitary life in aboveground nests, rabbits live underground in social groups.

Hares and rabbits don’t interbreed in the wild.  When they have been cross-bred in the laboratory, the fertilized eggs don’t develop because hares and rabbits have different numbers of chromosomes.  (Rabbits have 44 chromosomes, while hares have 48.)

100% chance they're fighting over a female
Here’s something I didn’t know:

Some herbivorous animals consume part of their own feces, thus recovering fermentation products that have passed through the digestive tract.  Reingestion of feces is an especially well-developed practice in [rabbits and hares] and is important for their adequate nutrition.


(Maybe that’s why rabbit meat is not kosher.)

*     *     *     *     *

Rabbits are legendarily prolific breeders, as Australians know all too well.  In the next 2 or 3 lines, I’ll tell you about the 1139-mile-long State Barrier Fence of Australia, which was built in the early 1900s to protect sheep and cattle-grazing areas from rabbits.

*     *     *     *     *

“Bonny Black Hare” is an old English folksong that has nothing to do with hares.

What it is about will become quickly apparent if you pay close attention to the lyrics.

The “Angel Delight” album
Here’s Airport Convention’s version of “Bonny Black Hare,” which was released on their 1971 Angel Delight album – their first without the legendary Richard Thompson:

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