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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Arctic Hare Facts You’ll Never Forget

Arctic hare facts to take you on a snowy adventure.

Let's explore some fun facts about the Arctic Hare! The Arctic Hare is a class of hare found in the Arctic region. They make an adorable-looking creature with their shorter ears and thick fur coat. They are well adapted to brace the harshness of freezing weather. They are omnivores and mostly survive on woody plants, majorly arctic willow, berries, leaves, roots, and more. It can also consume fish and stomach matter in the dead remains of caribou from time to time. Their breeding season is in the spring, typically from April to May. During the winter season, these animals huddle together and create warmth for one another.

One distinctive aspect of the Arctic Hare is that it can change its body color twice per year. During the winter season, they camouflage with the snow and turn white, turning themselves into a gray or brown color during the summer. The predators that threaten these little animals are the Arctic fox, snowy owls, the gray wolf, Canadian lynx, and ermine among others.

Read on for facts about the Lepus arcticus, Arctic Hare. If you enjoy our extensive fact coverage on the Arctic Hare, you might also enjoy our content on the stoat and brown hare.

Arctic Hare Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Arctic Hare?

The Arctic Hare is a type of hare found in icy regions like the Arctic Tundra. They are also called Polar Rabbits. For the Arctic Hare, Lepus arcticus is the scientific name. They have a shortened ear with a black tip. These shortened ears help the Arctic Hare reduce heat loss from the body surface. In the far north of the Tundra regions, the Arctic Hare remains white throughout the year. It helps protect them from predators as their white fur merges them with the surrounding snow.

What class of animal does an Arctic Hare belong to?

The Arctic hare belongs to the class Mammalia. The female species have mammary glands, and they feed their young one post birth up to six to eight weeks. Their feeding interval is 18-20 hours.

How many Arctic Hares are there in the world?

The exact number of Arctic Hares around the world is not estimated. Although it is safe to assume that the Arctic Hares' population will be significant in number considering the vast distribution of these hares species in the Arctic Tundras.

Where does an Arctic Hare live?

These hare species live in the far north. The North American Tundra regions are the home ground for these hares. These Arctic Hares are well adapted physiologically to live in these extreme weather conditions. These regions include Greenland, Northern Canada, Canadian Arctic Islands, Ellesmere Island,  Labrador, and Newfoundland. These hares species can be found up to 900 m above sea level.

What is an Arctic Hare's habitat?

The Arctic Hare habitat includes the Tundras, the rocky terrains, and the treeless coasts of the Arctic. Their body has a very high-fat percentage to withstand the ultimate forms of cold weather, even at frozen levels. The temperatures in these regions can drop down to -14.8 degrees Fahrenheit (-26 degrees Celsius). They can eat ice or snow without dropping their body temperature down or freezing to death.

Who do Arctic Hares live with?

The Arctic Hares prefer solitary living most of their lives. They only huddle or group during the winters. They form large groups of hundreds or even more to gain warmth during the winter season. This phenomenon of these animals gathering in groups is called flocking. They only disperse from the group for mating during the breeding season. The mating season for these white fur animals ranges from April to May.

How long does an Arctic Hare live?

The Arctic Hare is known to live anywhere between three to five years in its natural habitat. They fare better in the wild. They have a shortened lifespan in captivity and can only survive for one and a half years.

How do they reproduce?

During April and May, the male and female species come together for mating in the spring breeding season. They leave the more prominent groups and mate in a separate individual territory. The litter size often consists of two to eight leverets. Their mating is polygynandrous. This means the female mates with several males, and the male also chooses mating with many females.

The mating couples stay together until the leverets' birth, and post-birth, the male leaves to choose another female. The period of gestation for Arctic Hares is 50 days. The young ones are primarily independent in eight to nine weeks post-birth.

What is their conservation status?

As per the IUCN Red List, the Arctic Hares fall within the Least Concern brackets. The Arctic Hare's world population is not under any immediate threat of extinction. The IUCN Red List categorization suggests that these animals' species have their population well distributed and not endangered.

Arctic Hare Fun Facts

What do Arctic Hares look like?

The Arctic Hares look stout due to their shorter limbs and ears. Their ears' tips are black, which is a unique characteristic of this species. These animals can stand up on their hind legs and look 360 degrees around to detect any predator threat. This is the largest species of the hare family. They have very long claws on their forelegs and hind legs, which helps them dig deeper into the snow to find food buried deeper. Their fur is soft and white.

Arctic hares facts to discover this unique little snow dweller.

How cute are they?

The shy, timid nature of these hares combined with their thick white fur coat makes them look adorable. The Arctic Hares tend to live solitary lives. In the presence of predators, they might tend to stand still to divert any attention away from themselves. These imageries draw our attention to their cuteness. The leverets born are also highly agile and make an endearing vision to watch amongst the snow.

How do they communicate?

The Arctic Hares tend to form larger groups only during the winter to keep themselves warm. Larger groups are not typical for the rest of the year. They communicate with each other by movements of the head, ear, and boxing. They express love to their mates by licking or scratching. The males will keep their paws on the doe's back to establish their mate choice and threaten other males.

How big is an Arctic Hare?

The Arctic Hares are 17-28 in long, and they are double the size of an ordinary rabbit that can grow as much as 16 inches only. The Arctic Hare can reach an adult human's knees in its standing position. Their size helps them with agility and swift motion to escape their predators.

How fast can an Arctic Hare move?

They are very swift animals. They can reach up to a speed of 40 mph. While hopping on their hind legs, they can gain as much as 30 mph speed.

How much does an Arctic Hare weigh?

At 5.5-15 lb maximum body weight, the Arctic Hares are three times the size of a snowshoe hare.

What are their male and female names of the species?

The male Arctic Hares are called bucks, and the female Arctic Hares are called does. The male typically chooses multiple partners compared to the female counterparts.

What would you call a baby Arctic Hare?

The baby of an Arctic Hare is called a leveret. The leverets weigh 3.7 oz at birth. The leverets' fur has more black color than gray in the summer.

What do they eat?

The Arctic Hare or the Lepus arcticus diet includes woody plants, berries, leaves, roots, mosses, and lichens. Though they are folivores, they are also known to consume the meat of some fishes and the stomach remains of the dead reindeer quite often. They have very long and straight incisor teeth, one of the longest in the hare species, which they use to get food from unreachable sources. When their food sources might get buried by snow in the winter seasons, these Arctic Hares plow into the snow to find food. The Lepus arcticus eat snow to meet their water requirement.  

Are they dangerous?

They are a very intrinsic set of animals. They keep to themselves most of the year. They do not pose any threat to humans. They are a very safe set of animals.

Would they make a good pet?

The Arctic Hares are physiologically adapted to survive in freezing weather. Hence taking them away from their natural habitat will only reduce their survival chances. They are best left in the wilderness.

Did you know...

Here we have some Arctic Hare facts for kids to explore.

The Eskimos use Arctic Hares' fur to make gloves, bandages, or female support supplies.

The meat of the Arctic Hares is flavorful and lean. The cartilage from these fur animals' ears is a special delicacy for its unique taste.

The milk within the female animals' milk glands serves as a medicine for nausea.

Their wide eyes give the Arctic Hares the ability to view 360 degrees without turning their heads. This helps in detecting any predators or threats nearby.

The Arctic Hares do not hibernate the whole year-round. These animals adapt themselves according to each seasonal change.

The Arctic Hare's survival skills

In the winter season, the Arctic Hares tend to gather in larger groups of hundreds or even thousands to keep themselves warm. The flocking helps them to retain warmth in the body. The Arctic Hare's body is adapted, so their body temperatures do not drop even after eating ice or snow to meet their water requirements.

The Arctic Hares are good jumpers. They can jump 6.8 ft in one leap. Another exciting aspect of these Arctic Hares is that they change their body color based on the ongoing season. In the summer, the Arctic Hares have a brown/gray color, and during the winter, the color shifts to white. However, the Arctic Hares living far north remain white the whole year-round. Scientists believe that the color change can be attributed to photoperiod, which is nothing but the amount of sunlight received in the daytime. Exposure of the animal skin to sunlight may be a possible reason for the change in body color.

Arctic Hares within the food chain

The Arctic Hares are folivores and feed on arctic willows, saxifrages, crowberry, mosses, lichens, and other such foods. They are predated by the Arctic foxes, snowy owls, Canadian lynx, and more such animals in the food chain. The Arctic Hares are host to four groups of parasites: the protozoans, nematodes, lice fleas, and filaria.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created many interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals, including gerenuk or alpine ibex.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Arctic Hare coloring pages.

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