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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Snowshoe Hare


Beauty Of Animal | Snowshoe Hare | The snowshoe hare, also called the varying hare, or snowshoe rabbit, is a species of hare found in North America. It has the name "snowshoe" because of the large size of its hind feet and the marks its tail leaves. For camouflage, its fur turns white during the winter and rusty brown during the summer. Its flanks are white year-round. The snowshoe hare is also distinguishable by the black tufts of fur on the edge of its ears. Its ears are shorter than those of most other hares.In summer, it feeds on plants such as, grass, ferns and leaves; in winter, it eats twigs, the bark from trees, and buds from flowers and plants and, similar to the Arctic hare, has been known to steal meat from baited traps. 
Hares are carnivorous under the availability of dead animals, and have been known to eat dead rodents such as mice due to low availability of protein in an herbivorous diet. It can sometimes be seen feeding in small groups. This animal is mainly active at night and does not hibernate. The snowshoe hare may have up to four litters in a year which average three to eight young. Males compete for females, and females may breed with several males.
Snowshoe hares feed at night, following well worn forest paths to feed on trees and shrubs, grasses, and plants. These animals are nimble and fast, which is fortunate, because they are a popular target for many predators. Lynx, fox, coyote, and even some birds of prey hunt this wary hare. Like most hares (and rabbits), snowshoe hares are prolific breeders. Females have two or three litters each year, which include from one to eight young per litter. Young hares, called leverets, require little care from their mothers and can survive on their own in a month or less. Snowshoe hare populations fluctuate cyclically about once a decade possibly because of disease. These waning and waxing numbers greatly impact the animals that count on hares for food, particularly the lynx.
Snowshoe hares are forest-dwellers that prefer the thick cover of brushy undergrowth. They are primarily a northern species that inhabits boreal forests and can also range as far north as the shores of the Arctic Ocean. Along North American mountain ranges, where elevation simulates the environment of more northerly latitudes, they can be found as far south as Virginia (the Appalachians) and New Mexico (the Rockies). Hares are a bit larger than rabbits, and they typically have taller hind legs and longer ears. Snowshoe hares have especially large, furry feet that help them to move atop snow in the winter. They also have a snow-white winter coat that turns brown when the snow melts each spring. It takes about ten weeks for the coat to completely change color.

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