Arctic Hare Definition | Characteristics & Facts

Arctic hare

Arctic Hare Definition

It is well-adapted to survive in the harsh and extremely cold climates of the tundra and other northern habitats. The Arctic hare is a member of the Leporidae family, which includes rabbits and hares.

Arctic hare General Characteristics & Facts

Habitat: As the name suggests, Arctic hares inhabit the Arctic regions of North America and Greenland. They are found in tundra habitats, which are characterized by vast open spaces, cold temperatures, and low-growing vegetation.

Camouflage: They have excellent camouflage, especially during the winter months when their fur turns pure white. This adaptation helps them blend into the snowy landscape, making it challenging for predators to spot them.

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Physical Characteristics Arctic hare

  1. Size: Arctic hares are relatively large compared to other hare species. They can measure around 43 to 70 centimeters (17 to 28 inches) in length from head to tail.
  2. Weight: Adult hares typically weigh between 2.5 to 5 kilograms (5.5 to 11 pounds).
  3. Ears: Arctic hares have relatively small ears compared to other hare species. This adaptation helps minimize heat loss, as large ears would dissipate more body heat in the cold climate.
  4. Legs and Feet: They have powerful hind limbs that allow them to run swiftly across the snow.
  5. Camouflage: The white fur of the Arctic hare provides excellent camouflage in the snowy surroundings, helping it avoid detection by predators.
  6. Eyes: The eyes of the Arctic hare are relatively large, providing good vision to spot potential threats or food sources.
  7. Adaptations to Extreme Cold: They have several physiological adaptations to cope with extreme cold temperatures.
  8. Seasonal Coat Change: As mentioned earlier, Arctic hares undergo a seasonal color change in their fur. This change allows them to blend in better with their environment during both winter and summer seasons.
  9. Moult: Twice a year, in spring and autumn, Arctic hares undergo a molting process where they shed their old fur and grow a new one.

Scientific Classification of Arctic Hare

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Lagomorpha

Family: Leporidae

Genus: Lepus

Species: Lepus arcticus

Key Locations

It is found in the following key locations:

  • Arctic regions of North America (including Canada and Alaska).
  • Greenland.
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What does an Arctic hare eat?

  • Grasses
  • Mosses
  • Lichens
  • Arctic willow (Salix arctica)
  • Arctic cotton grass
  • Dwarf birch (Betula nana)
  • Arctic poppy
  • Various other tundra plants and shrubs.


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