A Snowshoe Hare in the winter has a white coat. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Image Source
What does a Snowshoe Hare look like?
Snowshoe hares grow to be 16 to 20 inches long (41.3 to 51.8 cm) and weigh 2 to 4 pounds. Their fur is brown in the summer and white in the winter. Their fur keeps them camouflaged. In the winter, their white fur blends in with the snow. In the summer, their brown fur help them hide on the forest floor. Snowshoe hares are bigger than rabbits. They have longer hind legs too.
Snowshoe hares have very large furry feet. These special feet help them to move on top of the snow in the winter. Snowshoe hares have small ears compared to other hares. That is because the ears contain a lot of blood vessels. A hare living in the desert would have large ears, to help it cool off. The opposite is true for Snowshoe Hares living in the north. Their ears are small, so they do not loose too much body heat.
Where do Snowshoe Hares live?
The snowshoe hare is a very common mammal in the Boreal Forest. They like to hide in the dense underbrush on the forest floor. They can be found throughout Canada and northern parts of the United States. They can actually live as far north as the Arctic Ocean.
What do Snowshoe Hares eat?
Snowshoe Hares like to eat shrubs, grasses, and plants. Usually they eat at night to avoid being spotted by predators.
Interesting Facts about the Snowshoe Hare:
The Snowshoe Hare can travel 3 meters (almost 10 feet) in a single bound. They can move as fast as 45 kilometers per hour (about 28 miles per hour)!
The Snowshoe Hare population rises and falls in a cyclical pattern. The cycle seems to take about ten years. When the population is at its peak, the density can be as many as 500 to 600 hares per square kilometer. Predators of the Snowshoe Hare are affected by this population fluctuation. For example, when the Snowshoe Hare population goes up, the Canadian Lynx population goes up.
Map of the Snowshoe Hare’s range. Wikimedia Commons Image Source
A Snowshoe Hare is brown in the summer. National Park Service Image Source
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