Arctic Hares have adapted to survival and thrived in the extremely harsh conditions of the Arctic. On this page is a list of interesting facts about this Arctic animal
written for both kids and adults. Information on this page includes what they look like and how they have adapted to survival in the Arctic.
Interesting Arctic Hare Facts
The Arctic Hare is the largest hare found in North America.
Arctic Hares live in the northern regions of Canada and Greenland, and on Canadian Arctic islands.
This Arctic animal is a herbivore and actually mostly a folivore (leaf-eating animal). They eat mostly willow leaves, but their diet also includes various plants,
roots, mosses, and berries.
Unlike many animals that live in the Arctic, the Arctic Hare does not hibernate during the coldest months of the year.
Female Arctic Hares give birth to one litter per year, this occurs in spring or the beginning of the summer. The litter is usually 2 to 8 Hares.
These animals are usually very social and sometimes form groups of hundreds or even thousands. They will often huddle together for warmth.
The Arctic Hare has numerous predators, not all of which are present throughout the region it inhabits. These predators include the Arctic Wolf, Arctic fox, Red
fox, Gray wolf, Snowy Owl, Gyrfalcon, Canada Lynx, and Peregrine falcons.
Information on the lifespan of this mammal is limited but many experts believe it to be between three to five years in the wild.
Arctic Hare Species
There are four living subspecies of Arctic Hare they are:
Lepus arcticus arcticus
Lepus arcticus banksii
Lepus arcticus groenlandicus
Lepus arcticus monstrabilis
Arctic Hare Physical Appearance
Members of this species who live the furthest north have fur that stays white all year whereas the fur of the ones that live further south in their range turns
grayish brown in the warmer summer months.
The length of Arctic Hares ranges from 17 to 28 inches (43 to 70 centimeters) excluding their tail.
Their tail measures between 1.8 - 4 inches (4.6 - 10.16 centimeters).
The weight of an Arctic Hare is usually between 6 - 12 pounds (2.5 - 5.5 kilograms).
Their claws are relatively long compared to hares in other regions.
This animal has short ears that have black tips.
Arctic Hare Adaptations Facts
The fur color of this hare changes contingent upon its environment in order to provide the appropriate camouflage. Members of this species that live far north have
fur that stays white year round to match the year round snow cover; whereas the fur of members that live further south will turn grayish brown in warmer month, as the
snow melts away, to match the ground color.
In order to escape speedy predators, like the Arctic Wolf, Arctic hares have developed great speed and can move at up to 37 miles per hour (59.5 kilometers per
hour) for short burst.
Food can often be scarce in the Arctic where many plants do not grow and those that do are often covered by snow. The long claws of this hare are needed to dig
through packed snow to get to food and to pull plants out of hard frozen rocky ground.
Unlike hares that live in warmer regions the Arctic Hare has relatively short ears; which have developed that way to limit its body's exposure to the cold.