Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus)

 

Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus) 

 

Snowshoe Hares (Lepus americanus struthopus), also called the Varying Harel, are mammals from the Rabbits and Hares Family (Leporidae). They are of the order Hare-like (Lagomorphia). The order name is Greek for hare form. The genus, Lepus, is Latin for Hare. The species name identifies it as an American hare. The Maine hares are one of two subspecies: struthopus or virginianus.

The Snowshoe Hare can be up to about 20 inches (51 centimeters) long. It is the only member of the Rabbits and Hares Family found naturally on Mount Desert Island. The upper body and tail are brown in the summer and underparts are white.  It turns all white for winter. The ears are large, about three inches (7.6 centimeters) long.  The rear feet are longer and broader than the front feet.

It feeds on vegetation like green leaves and berries.

The Snowshoe Hare is active by night all year round and will rest in a small, sheltered place during the day. It may venture out during the day to forage.

Snowshoe Hare among Flowers

A shy animal, it depends upon camoflage and speed to avoid predators. It will have two to three litters per year with one to six young per litter. Snowshoe Hares are good swimmers but avoid bodies of water. They prefer the safety of the forest

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