Arctic Hare (Lepus arcticus & othus)
Paw prints of the
The arctic hare is not the same thing as a snowshoe hare. It is not even the same as a rabbit. There are two hare that live in Arctic areas - they are the arctic hare and the tundra hare. The major difference between them is where they live, and the color their tail turns. The arctic hare is larger than a snowshoe. His fur is long and white all the way through in the winter and his ears are blackish around the edges. In the summer his coat is grayish brown on top and white beneath.
Characteristics and Physical Features of the Arctic Hare
Distinguishing Characteristics: Short ears, and a fur coat that changes color with the seasons make the arctic and tundra hare special.
Breeding: Leverets born June thru July. Usually there are 4-8 in a litter. They are fully furred and have their eyes open.
Range: Lepus articus live in Canada and Greenland. Lepus othus lives only in Alaska. The arctic hare likes to live on the rocky slopes and upland tundra of the Arctic. They like to live in groups. They don't like to live in low places or wooded areas.
Diet: The food they eat is mostly willow - the leaves, shoots, bark and roots - and grasses, flowers, saxifrage and crowberry.
How is a hare different from a rabbit?
The major difference between a rabbit and a hare is that the young of a hare are born open-eyed and furred. The rabbit's young are born naked and with closed eyes. Hare are able to leave the nest soon after they are born but rabbits don't even open their eyes for 7-10 days.
Some people say that the length of the ears is part of the difference but arctic hare have short ears while hare outside of Arctic areas have long ears.
Why does an arctic hare have camouflage?
The arctic hare looks a lot different from the rabbits and hares that you see anywhere outside of the Arctic. In the summertime the arctic hare is brown with black flecks. This helps to camouflage it during the growing season. When the weather starts to change the arctic hare starts to change too. So that during the winter its coat is completely white. This change helps to protect it during the winter.
Why are the ears of an arctic hare so short?
The ears are so small to help keep the hare warm during the cold winters on the tundra. The small ears do not have a lot of area to have the blood vessels exposed to the cold so more heat is kept down in the body to help the hare stay warm.
What is the world's smallest "Big Foot"?
Arctic hare would fit this description. The feet of an arctic hare are huge compared to other rabbits. Having big feet is like having snowshoes. They help them to stay on top of the snow. If they could not do this they wouldn't be able to get away from their predators.
When do snowballs jump?
Arctic hare sit out on the tundra in large groups. Whenever threatened by a wolf or fox or other predator they scatter in all directions. This makes it harder for them to be caught. It looks sort of like big snowballs jumping around the tundra.
What is a baby arctic hare called?
You call a baby hare a leveret. When an arctic hare has a litter there are usually 4-8 leverets born. The leverets are born in June in the Arctic areas. They are darker than their parents and their fur is sort of black looking.
Where do arctic hares live?
Unlike rabbits arctic hares like to live in nests. Rabbits prefer to live in burrows. This is good because it would be very hard for a arctic hare to dig a burrow in the Arctic.
How do arctic people benefit from the arctic hare?
The Arctic people do not eat the arctic hare a lot. It is not one of the more important foods for them. They prefer other meats and only eat hare if nothing else is available. They use the fur for shoe linings and robes.
Written by Samuel