`the March Hare will be much the most interesting, and perhaps as this is May it won't be raving mad--at least not so mad as it was in March.'
During a hare's breeding season, which starts in late February, hares are known for their odd and erratic behavior. They race about, jump and "box." Overeager males are deterred by females who are not yet ready to breed. The females will shove, kick and leap away from them. The behavior was thought so strange, observers reasoned the hares must be "mad." The phrase "as mad as a March hare" has been around for a long time and is still used today. So well known was it, that John Heywood included the phrase in his collection, Proverbs of the English Tongue, in 1546. The hare's spring behavior is also responsible for the phrase "harebrained."