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Lepus arcticus

Arctic Hare

Order: Lagomorpha
Family: Leporidae

Image of Lepus arcticus
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Conservation Status: Least Concern.


The beautiful Arctic Hare has a far northerly distribution in the tundra of Greenland and Canada. Arctic Hares are larger, heavier, and more thickly furred than Snowshoe Hares. They, too, change color seasonally, molting from winter white to a grayish summer coat. Young are born in the summer, with gray coats that turn white when they are 2-3 weeks old. The mother nurses them until they are 8-9 weeks old. The young are preyed upon by weasels, foxes, owls, falcons, and hawks, but the adults are so fast and agile they can usually escape most predators. Arctic Hares are usually solitary, but may form groups of 100-300 individuals. When on a slope, they always face upwards, unless they are running downhill.

Also known as:
Labrador Hare, Polar Hare, Greenland Hare, American Arctic Hare, Canadian Arctic Hare, Apline Hare, Oo-ka-lik, Ka-choc, Ukkulirk, Ookalik, Okollik

Sexual Dimorphism:
None

Length:
Average: 606 mm
Range: 558-633 mm

Weight:
Average: 4,400 g
Range: 2,500-6,800 g

References:

Ross, J., 1819.  A voyage of discovery, made under the orders of the admiralty, in his majesty's ships Isabella and Alexander, for the purpose of exploring Baffin's Bay, and inquiring into the probability of a north-west passage, Second ed. Volume 2, appendix 4, p. 151, 170. Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown (not seen, cited in Nelson, 1909:61; title and publisher from National Union Catalog Pre-1956 Imprints, 505:139).

Links:

Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Lepus arcticus

Image of Lepus arcticus
Click to enlarge. (166kb)