The Arctic hare Animal, or polar rabbit, is a species of hare which is highly adapted to living in the Arctic tundra, and other icy biomes.
Arctic hare Animal Facts:
Length: 56-66 cm (22-26 in)
Tail: 4.5-10 cm
Weight: 2.5-6.8 kg
Social unit: Variable
Status: Least concern
This Arctic hare Animal (sometimes confused with a similar white-in-winter species, the snowshoe hare, Lepus americanus) is a true tundra species. It can survive in an open, treeless habitat through the long and bitter cold season. Preferred sites are rocky outcrops or hillsides with crevices and crannies for shelter. This hare may be solitary but, especially in winter, and uniquely among lagomorphs, it shows “flocking” behaviour in which large groups of up to 300 gather, move, run, and change direction almost as one.
The diet is a variety of low-growing grasses, herbs, and shrubs, including lichens, mosses, and most parts of the arctic dwarf willow. However, these opportunistic hares may also eat small animals or larger carrion. During the aggressive spring courtship, the male follows the female and may bite her neck so hard that bleeding occurs. Litter size is 1-8 with 1-3 litters per year. The young hares (leverets) stay in their nest (from), a hollow near rocks, lined with grass, moss, and fur. The mother visits to suckle them for only 2 minutes every 18 hours.
The relatively large, compact body, with short ears and other extremities, helps to reduce heat loss in cold conditions. The ears are darker in front than at the near.
The Arctic hare’s thick winter coat is almost pure white with black ear tips. It provides both warmth and camouflage in snow and ice. In most regions the spring moult produces the grey-brown summer coat, although in some areas this is also white. The timing of the moult depends on the number of daylight hours, detected by the eyes and then controlled via the body’s hormonal (endocrine) system.