Snowshoe Hare

Lepus americanus Erxleben

DESCRIPTION: With a typical rabbit shaped body the long ears, short tail, and large hind feet distinguish the Snowshoe Hare from other rabbits and small mammals. From mid-December to late April their soft, dense fur is predominately white. Though the ears and eyes are dark and rimmed with black fur. The under fur and feet are sprinkled over with grey and brown fur. After those months of winter their coat changes to a honey brown color, but the chin, tail, and lower parts are white and grey. They may have a white spot on their forehead, and the ears are tipped black. The seasonal color change, or molting, takes place over 70 days, and the occasional black fur phase is rare. The adults normally weigh from 3 to 4.5 lbs., and range around 20 inches in length.

FOOD HABITS:

Winter Sustenance: aspen, birches, willow,raspberries, maples, alder, red spruce, white cedar, eastern hemlock, and white pine.

Summer Sustenance: clovers, sedges, ferns, grasses, berries, and other foliage.

REPRODUCTION:

The females have around 6 or 7 young a year. The litters occur during the spring and summer months of the year, usually containing 2 to 3 young per litter. After the 36 or 37 day gestation period is over the female bear the young. Each newborn weighs 82 grams, and are about four inches long. At dusk for 5 to 10 minutes they nurse, and again every 24 hours. Weaning takes place at 4 to 6 weeks. The young leave by autumn and start reproducing the coming spring.

LIFE SPAN:

Their potential life span is up to 8 years, but many adults only make it to 2-5 years of age.

Fast Facts

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Subphylum: Vertebrata

Superclass: Euteleostomi

Class: Mammalia

Order: Lagomorpha

Family: Leporidae

Genus: Lepus

Species: americanus


RANGE:

From the border of Canada and North America south into the northern parts and then east. The range extends further south into the Appalachian Mountains and into eastern Tennessee, New mexico into the Rockies into Nevada and California.


HABITAT:

Tall conifers for daytime resting and protection from predators sight. Woody browse in the winter months that provide passages from resting place to their food source.

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Bibliography

Saunders, D. A. "Snowshoe Hare (Lepus Americanus Erxleben)." Snowshoe

Hare. N.p., 2015. Web. 8th Dec. 2015.


"Snowshoe Hare." Lakechamplainorganisms -. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.