Arctic Hare

Arctic Hare Facts
Size 16.9 - 27.5 inch (43 - 70 cm); tail 1.7 - 3.9 inch (4.5 - 10 cm)
Speed Up to 37.2 mph (60 km/h) (short distance)
Weight 5.5 - 12.1 lb (2.5 – 5.5 kg)
Lifespan 3 - 8 years
Food Roots, moss, berries, buds
Predators Snow-owl, wolf, polar bear, Arctic fox
Habitat Greenland, North Canada
Order Lagomorpha
Family Leporidae
Genus Lepus
Scientific name Lepus arcticus
Characteristics Snow-white coat, furry paws

The arctic hare is one of the biggest rabbits worldwide. It has a very dense coat that keeps it warm even at bitterly cold temperatures. It cannot hear very well, but has a very good sense of smell and eyesight.

Tricks Against the Cold

Only few animals have managed to adapt to habitats as cold and barren as the Arctic tundra. During the winter temperatures can reach -40 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 degrees Celsius). Yet, the arctic hare is perfectly prepared for this. Its entire body – including the paws – is covered by a very dense coat.

Basically, arctic hares are loners, but if it is really cold, they like to huddle together to keep each other warm. They also dig little dens into the snow, so that the icy wind sweeps over them.

Arctic Hare Arctic Hare - Photo: Sophia Granchinho/Shutterstock

Where Can I Get Some Food?

You can buy strawberries at the supermarket even in winter. Yet, the arctic hare does not have a shop within reach, so that it has to make do with the food provides by nature: Woody plants, mosses, and lichen.

This does not sound very tasty to us, but the rabbit can manage quite well with this. Fortunately the tundra is not covered with snow all year long. During the summer there are delicious buds, berries, leaves, roots and bark available.

Quick as a Lightning

Are you able to run as fast as a car? Just imagine: The arctic hare could even overtake a car in the city. With one leap it can jump as far as 6.5 - 9.8 ft (2 - 3 m) and reach a speed of up to 37.2 mph (60 km/h) over short distances thanks to its strong hind legs.

The first “rear wheel drive” that works on snowy ground! With a little luck, this enables the arctic hare to escape enemies such as the Arctic fox or the wolf.

Arctic Hare Arctic Hare - Photo: critterbiz/Shutterstock

Summer Coat and Winter Coat

During the summer, the arctic hare has a grey or brown coat. With a white coat it would be easily noticeable for its enemies in the brown-green tundra.

During the winter it changes the color of its coat to a beautiful snow-white shade, so that it can hardly be detected in the snowy landscape.

Never Without My Ski Goggles

Arctic hares have their “ski goggles” integrated so to speak. Their black eyelashes protect them against the gleaming sun.

I Am Not Tired

Arctic hares do not hibernate.

Arctic Hare Arctic Hare with summer coat - Photo: Antero Topp/Shutterstock

Reproduction

Arctic hares give birth during the „summer“, when it is not that cold. One litter contains 2 - 8 baby rabbits, which are hidden in the thicket on cozy beds made of moss and other plants. After about 2 months they are already able to look after themselves.

Arctic Hare Arctic Hare - Photo: critterbiz/Shutterstock


Pupils are welcome to use this information at school for essays, presentations, posters or homework. All information appearing on this site has been precisely and thoroughly researched, nevertheless should you notice any errors, please do notify us via email.