The Snowshoe Hare (called Lepus americanus by scientists)is known for the way it changes its fur color in different seasons. In the summer, this hare is reddish-brown except for its white belly. But in the winter, it turns completely white. This change is a type of camouflage to help it blend in with its surroundings and hide from enemies. The snowshoe hare has wide back feet that are covered with a dense coat of fur in the winter to protect the animal from the cold and help to walk over snowy fields safely. These broad feet act like snowshoes, giving the hare its name! Snowshoe hares are usually about 2 feet long and weigh 3 to 4 pounds.
Snowshoe hares live in densely wooded forests, tundras, or swamps with lots of plants. This animal is usually found in Alaska, throughout Canada, and the northern USA. They are entirely plant-eating, enjoying leaves, grasses, and weeds in the summer and bark or pine needles in the winter. However, they come out to eat mainly at night and spend the days hiding under bushes or in hollows and sleeping.
Snowshoe hares mate in the early spring, usually in late February or March. The female carries the young for about 5 weeks and then gives birth. Each litter of young has between 3 and 6 offspring, and the female will mate 2 or 3 times a year. The young hares are able to crawl and move within 1 day and can eat plants after only 10 days! The mother stops providing them milk after 1 month.