Imagine if you could meet an Arctic Hare in the winter wilds of the Arctic
The Arctic Hare is just amazing. He is so well suited to living in a frozen land.
Where they are found
The Arctic hare is found in the North American tundra. He lives as far north as Greenland, Northern Canada and some of the Canadian islands.
What do they look like
The Arctic hare has adapted to living in a very harsh climate in so many ways. He survives the cold with a thick fur coat, shorter ears and a tiny nose.
These features help him not to loose body heat. His body is made of 20% fat to keep him extra warm.The Arctic hare is about 19 – 26 inches (43 – 70 cm) long and weighs between 6 – 15 lbs (2.5 – 5.5 kg) He is a small mammal and looks like a rabbit, but he is a hare.
The tips of his ears are black and his fur is white in winter. In summer, the Arctic hare in warmer regions, looses its white hair for brown/gray fur. Their tails always stay white.
They have very large back feet that act like snow shoes. Their front feet have sharp claws for digging burrows and finding food.
One of the amazing features of this animal is its eyes. They are set at the side of its head.
The Arctic hare can see forwards, backwards and sidewards without turning to look. It has thick black eyelashes that protect its eyes from the reflection of the sun on the snow.
Where do they live, and what do they eat
The Arctic hare lives above the tree line in treeless areas of the tundra.
He likes rocky places where he can find food and shelter.He is an omnivore, but mostly eats woody plants, moss, lichen, leaves, buds and berries.
Sometimes he will eat fish and parts of another animal’s kill. He likes to eat at night.
When the Arctic hare chooses a mate they leave the other hares to start their own territory. The female has a litter of two or three babies in spring or early summer.
The babies are independent after two or three weeks, but still need their mother for food until they are six or seven weeks old.Baby hares are called leverets.
They grow quickly and are mature in six months. They live in the wild for about four or five years.
The Arctic hare is a fast runner. He can run up to 40 mph (60kph). He is a good jumper too. He can jump 6.8 feet in one leap.The Arctic hare does not hibernate. When it is very cold he gets together with other hares to keep warm.
When the Arctic hare feels in danger he stands on his back legs to look around. He will snap and kick box if he gets into a fight with another Arctic hare.
The Arctic hare will eat his own poop! He has two kinds of droppings. Some of his food is hard to digest and goes to a special pouch in his digestive system.
Bacteria in this pouch helps to break down the tough food. The droppings from this digestive action are softer. The hare eats them and gets extra good food. Nothing goes to waste.
Predators and dangers
The Arctic hare has many enemies and is hunted by snowy owls, ermine, Arctic fox, wolves and polar bears.
He is also trapped for his meat and fur.
Contribution to nature
The Arctic hare’s most important contribution to nature is the part he plays in the food chain. He provides other animals in the frozen Arctic with food to eat.
Arctic Hare Facts for Kids
1.The Arctic hare is sometimes called a polar rabbit, but it is not a rabbit.
2.The female Arctic hare is larger than the male.
3.They eat snow to get water.
4.The Arctic hare can swim.
5.The Arctic hare lives for 4 – 5 years in the wild, but only lasts for a year and a half in captivity.
Bacteria: Tiny organisms we can not see. They can do good and bad things to our food and our health.
Food chain: Nature’s way of feeding from plants to small animals and on to bigger animals.
Questions and answers.
1.How does the Arctic hare manage to survive in such a cold place?
The Arctic hare has a fur coat that changes with the seasons. He has big feet that act like snow shoes. His small ears and nose do not loose body heat and he has the extra body fat. These are the most important ways he manages to survive in the Arctic.
2.What are baby Arctic hares called?
Baby hares are called leverets.
3.How does the Arctic hare get enough water when everything is frozen?
The Arctic hare eats snow to get water.
4.What is the Arctic hare’s style of fighting?
He is a kick boxer!
5.What color is the Arctic hare’s tail throughout the year?
The Arctic hare’s tail stays white.
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