Adapted to live in the cold and harsh conditions of the polar regions, the Arctic hare has developed an extremely thick coat and a high body fat percentage to help it stay warm. It is also exceptionally fast to avoid predators, reaching speeds of up to 40 mph (60 km/h)!
Scientific & Common Names
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Mammalia
Order - Lagomorpha
Family - Leporidae
Genus - Lepus
Species - L. arcticus
Common Names - Arctic Hare, Polar Hare
The Arctic hare is the only rabbit species that can live in the extreme cold temperatures it calls home. It is pure white except for its nose, eyes, and the tips of its ears. Its ears are shorter than most other rabbit varieties, but it is one of the largest hares living today, at 30 inches long when fully grown.
Arctic hare females can give birth to up to eight babies per litter. The babies are called leverets and stay with the mother until they are ready to go off on their own.
These hares mainly feed on plants and eat snow to consume water. They are extremely fast, and need to be so they can evade their many predators which include the Arctic fox, red fox, gray wolf, lynx, snowy owl and even humans. Little is known about how long these hares can live in the wild, but they do not do very well in a captive setting.
Mainly distributed throughout the tundras of Greenland and northern Canada, the Arctic hare survives by eating woody plants, mosses, and lichens, which they must dig through the snow to find during the challenging winter months. They also like to dig holes to keep warm.
Classified as “least concern” on the conversation status spectrum, the Arctic hare is densely populated and in no immediate threat of a population decline.