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: Arctic hares 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.
Physical Characteristics Arctic hare
- 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.
- Weight: Adult Arctic hares typically weigh between 2.5 to 5 kilograms (5.5 to 11 pounds).
- Fur Coat: The most striking feature of the Arctic hare is its dense and thick fur coat, which serves as excellent insulation against the extreme cold. In winter, the fur is predominantly white, providing camouflage in the snow-covered landscape. During the summer months, the fur may change to a brownish-gray color to match the environment.
- 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.
- Legs and Feet: They have powerful hind limbs that allow them to run swiftly across the snow. Their large, furred feet act as natural snowshoes, helping them walk on top of the snow without sinking. The feet are covered with thick fur, which also aids in insulation.
- Camouflage: The white fur of the Arctic hare provides excellent camouflage in the snowy surroundings, helping it avoid detection by predators.
- Eyes: The eyes of the Arctic hare are relatively large, providing good vision to spot potential threats or food sources.
- Adaptations to Extreme Cold: Arctic hares have several physiological adaptations to cope with the extreme cold temperatures. They have a high metabolic rate to generate enough body heat to stay warm, and they may shelter in shallow burrows or forms (nests) to conserve heat.
- 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.
- 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. This helps maintain the quality and insulating properties of their fur.
Scientific Classification of Arctic Hare
Species: Lepus arcticus
Key Locations of Arctic Hare
The Arctic hare (Lepus arcticus) is found in the following key locations:
- Arctic regions of North America (including Canada and Alaska).
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FAQS Arctic hare
What does Arctic hare eat?
- Arctic willow (Salix arctica)
- Arctic cotton grass
- Dwarf birch (Betula nana)
- Arctic poppy
- Various other tundra plants and shrubs.