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Have a hare-oic year in 2021!

You might think we were done with 2021 award ceremonies for wildlife - think again! Today, the Latvian National Museum of Natural History points the spotlight on... the animal of the year!

And the award goes, or shall we say hops, to the hare!

These little critters can move at a speed of 50 kilometers per hour if intimidated, so the award-bearers had better get their skates on.

The Museum has decided to kill two hares with one shot (disclaimer: no animals were harmed in citing this popular Latvian idiom) and shine the light on both species living in Latvia: the mountain hare (Lepus timidus) and the European hare (Lepus europaeus). Yes, we have mountain hares despite a notable lack of mountains.

Most people, the museum representative Polīna Šķiņķe said, are under the false impression that only one species is found in Latvia. However, only the mountain hare turns white for winter, whereas the European hare stays a rusty-gray throughout the year. (Perhaps they are afraid of hare-dressers, or simply don't carrot-all.)

If this has got you hare-brained to see the other award-winners this year, here they are: the insect of the year, the plant of the year, the bird of the year, the invertebrate of the year and the moss of the year.

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