101 Facts About Snowshoe Hares


  • The snowshoe hare is one of the most common forest mammals but is found only in North America.
  • The snowshoe hare is found in alpine regions of the United States and Canada.
  • Snowshoe hares tend to be larger than rabbits and have longer legs and bigger ears.
  • When threatened, rabbits normally freeze and rely on disguise. The snowshoe hare uses their big feet to run at the first sign of danger.
  • Thick, long hairs cover the soles of the 13-18 cm (5-7 in) back feet, creating a type of snowshoe.
  • Snowshoe hares grow up to 518 mm long. Their tails measure 39 to 52 mm in length.
  • The snowshoe hares ears are 62 to 70 mm from base to tip.
  • Rabbits are born blind and helpless, while snowshoe hares are born fully furred and ready to run.
  • Snowshoe hares are common throughout their range. Because they have such a large litter, their populations can grow quickly.
  • Snowshoe hares have adapted well to their environment. They have large, furry hind feet, allowing them to move over the top of the snow easily.
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Photo of white rabbit
  • A seasonal difference in fur color is another remarkable adaptation: from grey-brown in summer, the fur becomes almost white in winter.
  • Snowshoe hares eat a variety of herbaceous plants during the summer, including species like vetch, strawberry, fireweed, vetch, lupine, clover bluebell, and some grasses. They also eat many leaves from shrubs.
  • The geographic range is so large that snowshoe hares in different regions may have completely different diets, depending totally on the local forest type.
  • Snowshoe hares have large ears that help them regulate their body temperature.
  • Snowshoe hares have long legs for jumping, and the big back feet help them move through the snow. 
  • Snowshoe hares travel an average of 1.2 and 1.6 kilometers a day. 
  • Female snowshoe hares are slightly larger than males.
  • A male is called a buck.
  • A female is called a doe.
  • Young snowshoe hares are called leverets.
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Snowshoe hare
  • Depending on the season, snowshoe hares fur can be a different color. 
  • In winter, snowshoe hares are white, which helps them blend in with the snow. 
  • In spring and summer, snowshoe hares turn a reddish-brown which helps them camouflage with dirt and rocks.
  • To help regulate their body temperature, the snowshoe hare has many veins in their ears.
  • The tips of the ears are always black no matter the season.
  • The back legs of a snowshoe hare are larger and have more fur with larger toes. These adaptations provide additional surface area to give them support for walking on snow.
  • Snowshoe hares enjoy a diet of plants, eating flowers, tree growth, and plants.
  • Snowshoe hares are nocturnal, and also crepuscular. They are more expected to be seen at dawn and dusk.
  • Snowshoe hares have acute hearing that can detect predators.
  • Snowshoe hares mate in spring and summer.
  • During the mating season, males and females hares make a clicking noise to each other.
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  • The birthing season for young snowshoe hares is usually from March until August.
  • Females have a gestation period of 36 days and can give birth to 8 to 13 young.
  • A female Snowshoe hare can birth up to four litters a year.
  • In the evening, nursing will occur for the young. They are self-supportive at three to four weeks of age.
  • Young snowshoe hares weigh between 45 and 75 grams at birth; gaining 450 g within a month.
  • Snowshoe hares average 1.4 kg by five months.
  • Snowshoe hares reach maturity after one year. Some live up to five years in the wild, but most don’t even live for one year.
  • In winter, snowshoe hares turn their attention to brushwood, bark, and buds from both coniferous and deciduous trees and shrubs.
  • Snowshoe hares have been known to feed on the remains of dead animals, but this behavior is rare. 
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Snowshoe hare
  • Snowshoe hares are born fully furred with their eyes open,
  • Snowshoe hares are most active between sunset and daylight.
  • Snowshoe hares spend their days resting and grooming under stumps or bushes, or in hollow logs.
  • Snowshoe hares have many predators. These include coyotes, fox, mink, lynx, hawks, and owls.  
  • Squirrels are the main predators of young hares
  • Adult snowshoe hares can travel up to three meters in just one leap and can reach speeds up to 45 kilometers per hour.
  • Snowshoe hares are quiet creatures.
  • Communication to other hares in the vicinity is achieved by stomping their back feet on the ground. 
  • Snowshoe hares make a snorting sound when angry, or a loud, high-pitched squeal if captured.
  • The snowshoe hare travels on large, gently furred back feet, which allow them to move easily over the snow
  • Their feet act as snowshoes. They have four long toes on each foot which spread widely on the snow.
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Snowshoe hare
  • Adult snowshoe hares usually weigh 1.2 to 1.6 kg.  
  • Snowshoe hares are very active in summer, and they remain active all winter.
  • During the daytime, they rest calmly in sheltered spots called “forms,” under a bush, stump, or log.
  • At the population peak, snowshoe hares can reach densities of 500 to 600 hares per square kilometer.
  • The snowshoe hare suffers from viral, bacterial, and parasitic diseases.
  • The snowshoe hare is the most important small game animal in North America, being a predator for many other species.
  • Their large back feet are attached to strong back legs. 
  • A snowshoe hare can jump as far as 3 meters at a time
  • Snowshoe hares coats keep them warm.
  • Snowshoe hare do not need to hibernate or travel to warmer areas when winter strikes.
  • They are very good swimmers
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  • Snowshoe hares will jump into ponds and streams to get food or escape a predator.
  • Snowshoes can swim, but will normally avoid water.
  • Snowshoe hares are solitary, promiscuous, and sedentary.
  • They use visual, tactile, vocal, chemical, and mechanical signals to communicate with others.
  • They live in forest areas where the ground is covered with undergrowth, swamps, and thickets.
  • A snowshoe hares coat is made up of different layers of fur. They have a silky soft fur for lagging, a medium layer of thicker hair, and then long, coarse outer hair. 
  • They have good hearing but are not very vocal. 
  • Most communication between hares involves thumping the ground with their rear legs.
  • Snowshoe Hares have longer hind legs, smaller ears, and large, furry feet. 
  • Snowshoe Hares also sometimes known as the snowshoe rabbit.
  • The snowshoe hare is also known as the varying hare because their colors differ depending on the season.
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  • They use systems of trails in the undergrowth of the forest to look for food.
  • Snowshoe hares require 300 grams (10.5 oz) of food a day.
  • Snowshoe hares use trail systems to quickly and nimbly escape from predators
  • Snowshoe hares are mainly sedentary, sitting for most of the day.
  • Snowshoe hares paths in the snow are easily recognizable from their tracks.
  • Snowshoe hares feet are covered in long fur, which helps to protect them from the cold winter temperatures.
  • Snowshoe fur makes it almost impossible for predators to find it. In the winter the hair matches the snow, in the summer brown fur blends in with the forest floor and bushes.
  • Snowshoe long and wide feet work the way that snowshoes do. This allows them to travel quickly over the snow.
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Snowshoe hare
  • A snowshoe hairs trail, which takes the hares between feeding and resting places, are well-traveled. These trails are also used by other species, such as squirrels, porcupines, and skunks.
  • Major runways follow the same routes in summer and winter, and the snowshoe hares keep the trails well-maintained, quickly clipping off stems and leaves which begin to block the trails.  They do this as they. May need these routes to escape predators.
  • Snowshoe hares young are mostly killed by both red squirrels and ground squirrels.
  • They spend all their time above ground, sleeping under bushes or roots.
  • Snowshoe hares contradict their meek, silent appearance. They can drum with their huge back feet, making a sound like the drumming of ruffed grouse.
  • A Snowshoe hare will aggressively defend their home range, which may cover 10 acres, against other invading hares. 
  • They can growl and will kick with their powerful feet at enemies.
  • Southern hares are larger in Pennsylvania than Northern hares in the Yukon.
Snowshoe hare
  • Snowshoe hares have small teeth behind their strong, big ones in the front, for cutting through food.
  • Snowshoe hares can jump and run very fast both on the grass and on snow.
  • Snowshoe hares are very territorial and do not change their territories.
  • Snowshoe hares typically have a very short life span of less than two to three years.
  • Unlike rabbits, Snowshoe hares do not build nests or burrows but live above ground year-round.
  • Snowshoe Hares like to take dust baths. These help to remove parasites, fleas, and lice from their fur.
  • Snowshoe hares have excellent hearing, which helps them to identify imminent attacks from predators.
  • Snowshoe hares digest plant matter in the handout to get all the nutrients out of the plant material.
  • When Snowshoe hares fight with each other, they may hiss and snort.
  • Snowshoe hares can be found down to Pennsylvania.
  • The snowshoe hare’s ears are smaller than the majority of hares.
  • Hares from farther South have shorter, less-dense and less-white winter coats than their Northern counterparts.

Bryan Harding

Bryan has spent his whole life around animals. While loving all animals, Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Not only does Bryan share his knowledge and experience with our readers, but he also serves as owner, editor, and publisher of North American Mammals.

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