22 APRIL 1955, Page 17

CAPTIVE HARES `I think that one could, if one wanted

to, make pets of most non-carnivorous animals,' says a reader who lives in south Devon. 'When I was in Iraq an Arab brought in one day a baby hare. We brought it up on milk and water, feeding it with a fountain-pen filler, and it flourished exceedingly. It bullied our spaniel and when it was shut outside a room it scrabbled on the door until let in. Finally, however, it had to be got rid of as it got into the habit of springing up at our small son in play, but it was apt to scratch, so I returned it to the desert where, I am afraid, it was not likely to survive.' My own first efforts to raise a wild hare—I was about ten years old at the time—came to nothing. The hare refused to feed and was terrified of my most gentle approaches. At length it fixed its sharp front teeth in my hand and made its escape to a nearby field. I wondered whether its mother found it again, for a hare leaves her young in folds of the ground and only returns to them at intervals. Later on I found another leveret and persuaded it to feed, but just when we were becoming attached to each other my elders decided that is was cruel to keep it in captivity and it was released. 'A hill is a place for a hare and a tree for a bird,' they insisted.