Snowshoe hares belong to the mammals. They look like rabbits but they are bigger in size. They are common in cold temperature zones of the world. Here in Virginia they can be located in Highland County. They have a thick coat of fur. It is white in the winter and brown in the summer. Snowshoe hare have huge hind legs, and their feet are furry. They are about 6 inches to 12 inches in height, and their weight is between 3-5 lbs.
The snowshoe hare are solitary animals. Normally live in the wild for about 3 years. Mostly they like to move around at night. They live in heavily wooded areas, especially evergreen forest, spruce-fir woods, and mixed hardwoods. They like to hide out, making bowl-like shape holes on the ground, and covering them with brush piles. They do not like open spaces. They usually stick to the same habitat all year round.
Snowshoe hares are classify as consumers. They are herbivorous. They mainly feed on grass, flowers, clover, and greens in summer time. In the winter months they eat buds, maple, willow, soft bark, spruce, pines, and twigs. Their predators include bobcat, gray fox, red fox, red-tailed hawk, lynx, great horned owl, and barred owls.
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Snowshoe hare are fast swimmers, and they throw themselves into water to escape from their predators. They relay on their speed to escape from their attackers, and when they are being chased they change directions frequently and suddenly. They hide during the daytime and come out at night, so they can be more safe. To conserve energy during winter, they do as little as possible.
The snowshoe hares have a thick fur coat in winter which protects them from the cold. They have small teeth behind their strong and big ones in the front, for cutting the food. Their fur coat changes color with the season. In winter their fur is very white, and in summer their fur is brownish. This helps them to blend in with the surroundings. Their hind feet are like snowshoes that help them hop around on top of the snow so they don’t sink in it. Their whiskers and nose are designed to sense danger, and their ears are like radars, picking up any sounds.
Snowshoe hares are threatened by humans from time to time for maritime hunting, for their fur, and even diet. Sometimes we set traps called snares along their runways. Here in Virginia are considered an endangered species.
Snowshoe hare are capable of running as fast as 27mph. They are also high jumpers. They can jump up till 10ft high. They take their name from their hind feet, that look like snowshoes. Their fur-coat’s color changes according to the length of the days as the seasons change. Each male snowshoe hare competes with many others to mate with a single female hare. When they communicate, they do it stomping their hind feet on the ground.