The Arctic hare (Lepus arcticus ) is a species of hare highly adapted to living in the Arctic tundra and other icy biomes. The Arctic hare survives with shortened ears and limbs, a small nose, fat that makes up close to 20% of its body, and a thick coat of fur. It usually digs holes in the ground or under the snow to keep warm and to sleep. Arctic hares look like rabbits but have shorter ears, are taller when standing, and, unlike rabbits, can thrive in extreme cold. They can travel together with many other hares, sometimes huddling with dozens or more, but are usually found alone, sometimes taking more than one partner. The Arctic hare can run up to 60 kilometres per hour (40 mph).
Nocturnality is an animal behavior characterized by being active during the night and sleeping during the day. The common adjective is "nocturnal",...
A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example, foliage, for the main component of its die...
In zoology, a folivore is a herbivore that specializes in eating leaves. Mature leaves contain a high proportion of hard-to-digest cellulose, less ...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Jumping (saltation) can be distinguished from running, galloping, and other gaits where the entire body is temporarily airborne by the relatively l...
A burrow is a hole or tunnel excavated into the ground by an animal to create a space suitable for habitation, temporary refuge, or as a byproduct ...
Zoochory animals are those that can disperse plant seeds in several ways. Seeds can be transported on the outside of vertebrate animals (mostly mam...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
Precocial species are those in which the young are relatively mature and mobile from the moment of birth or hatching. Precocial species are normall...
Polygyny is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male.
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
CaCanada Province Animals
Arctic hare is a species of hare, living in cold Arctic regions. These hares look like rabbits but have shorter ears, are taller when standing, and, unlike rabbits, can thrive in extreme cold. Their front and hind legs are large and fluffy. The color of the coat depends on the season of the year, while the fur on the underbelly and chest always remains gray. Thus, in winters the fur grows long. It becomes white, thicker, softer by feeling with black bunches on the edges of their ears. Molting coincides with the summer season, during which the fur becomes brownish-grey to gray-blue. Face, feet, ears, shoulders, legs, and, finally, back: molt one by one. Males usually start molting after females.
Arctic hares’ area of distribution covers a vast territory, stretching from Greenland and the northernmost regions of Canada to Newfoundland and Labrador. They are well adapted to conditions found in the tundras, plateaus, and treeless coasts of this region, including cold weather and frozen precipitation.
Arctic hares are nocturnal animals that prefer leading solitary lifestyles. However, to survive under extreme, Arctic weather conditions, hares congregate in groups. Here they get warm with each other’s bodies. Also, they feed in groups of 10-60 individuals in each one, though in far north regions they gather in large groups of up to 300 individuals. Feeling danger, a hare rises on its hind legs while keeping its front legs lifted and close to the chest. They stand still in this position, listening carefully to any rustling around. They can also hop away in this position. These hares are excellent swimmers and, as all hares, elusive runners. They dig through snow to get food.
Arctic hares are herbivores (folivores), meaning that they mainly feed on plants. However, they enjoy eating willows and flowers as well. Due to the lack of suitable food in northernmost regions, these animals dig through the snowpack to get lichens, plants, and mosses. Their diet includes also rare leaves, buds, and roots of plants.
Arctic hares are polygynous, meaning that a male mates more than one female during each breeding season. The mating period takes place in spring, usually from April to May, while the gestation period takes about 50 days. As a result, in May-June, a female gives birth to 2-8 youngsters. Each mating pair has its defined territory. Young hares are born fully furred and with eyes open. They are precocial and are able to fend for themselves soon after birth. Weaning usually occurs at the age of 8-9 weeks and the leverets stay within the mother's home range until they can survive on their own. They are almost full size by late July (some weeks after birth) and breed for the first time after a year of age.
Major threats for Arctic hare are habitat loss in areas, overlapping with human settlements, and excessive hunting. As for the latter, they attract hunters for their pelts as well as meat. The majority of the hunters are indigenous people of the region. Moreover, in the case of global warming threats are likely to increase.
The population number of Arctic hare is not officially estimated. However, this widespread species is evidently not endangered, assuming that IUCN has classified the Arctic Hare in the IUCN Red List as Least Concern.
Arctic hares are important dispersers of seeds and an important food source for local predators.