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Arctic Hare Facts

The Arctic hare lives in the Arctic tundra and other icy biomes. It can run up to 60 kilometers per hour (40 mph) and has a thick coat of fur.

The arctic hare is the largest of all North American. It has long claws on all four feet and turns white in the winter to help it camouflage itself.

Arctic Hare Facts for Kids

  • The Arctic hares live for 3 – 5
  • They can run up to 37 mph
  • Arctic hares are Omnivores
  • Snow glare is reduced by their black eyelashes
  • Average Length: 19-28 inches

Scientific name

Their scientific name is Lepus arcticus

Appearance and Behavior

Arctic hares are often confused with rabbits but are actually different animals. They have

  • Long claws on their hind legs
  • Shorter ears
  • White coat
  • Longer and straighter front teeth (incisors)
  • Claws help to dig in packed snow

The average arctic hare is

17 to 25 inches long

6.5 and 11 pounds in weight (3 to 5 kg).

It can get quite a bit bigger and weigh as much as 17 pounds (7 kg).

Arctic hares sometimes gather together in groups of six to several hundred animals, called downs, bands, husks, or warrens.

Facts for Kids
Facts for Kids

They are shy animals that hide from predators by sitting still. They are always scanning the surroundings watching for danger.

Habitat

The Arctic hare is found in Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and Northern Canada. It is well adapted to cold weather and frozen precipitation.

They change their coat color from brown or grey to white in the winter and remain white all year round.

Diet

The Arctic hare is a herbivore that mostly eats plants like:

  • Willow twigs
  • Roots

In the northernmost regions, it can be hard to find food, so they have to dig through the snow to find:

  • Plants
  • Mosses

The harsh environment makes them very tough and resilient.

Predators and threats

The Arctic hare is pursued by a wide variety of predators, including snowy owls, ermines, Arctic foxes, wolves, and polar bears, among others.

The Arctic wolf hunts the Arctic hare. Hares are on the wolves’ menu when there is no alternative source of meat.

The Arctic fox also hunts them and is a very successful hunter because its eyesight is excellent.

Reproduction, babies, and lifespan

Arctic hares mate in April or May and separate from one another to set up individual territories.

The female arctic hare gives birth to a single litter of two to eight babies once per year. The babies become independent at two to three weeks old and can breed the following summer.

Arctic hares live five years in the wild but only eighteen months in captivity. The stress of being kept in artificial conditions shortens their natural lifespan.

Hare Population

Arctic hares are not considered to be endangered, and their population is stable. There is no reason to think that they will go extinct any time soon.

Where are they found?

Arctic hares live in the tundra of North America. They live in Greenland, Northern Canada, and on a few of the Canadian islands, all of which are quite far north.