Snowshoe Hare

Snowshoe Hare.
Credit: Gerry Mussnug

Name

  • Common name: Snowshoe Hare
  • Scientific name: Lepus americanus
  • Order: Lagomorpha
  • Family: Leporidae

Also known as

Rabbit, Bunny

Viewing opportunities

  • Forest edges are good places to look for hares, especially in spring and autumn when their colouration may not match snow conditions.
  • Look for them under a deadfall or at the base of a tree.
  • Hares often feed in roadside ditches at dusk in the summer.
  • Hare tracks are highly visible in winter and the density of these can help you find good places to look for them, particularly along their pathways.

Description

  • Very broad hind feet and large ears.
  • Winter: white fur with black-tipped ears.
  • Summer: Rusty or dark brown fur with white underparts.
  • Rear limbs much longer than front ones.

Fast facts

  • Length: 0.5 m
  • Weight: 1 to 2 kg
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Predators: All carnivorous mammals and raptors.
  • Habitat: Boreal Forest

Conservation status

What is conservation status?

  • Yukon: S5 (Secure)
  • Global: G5 (Secure)

Yukon population estimate

Not determined.

Behaviour

Snowshoe Hares are active primarily at dawn, dusk and during the night. They rest in shallow depressions called forms, which may be tucked beneath a snow-laden branch or deadfall. They are casual parents. The male does not care for the young at all and the female visits her young as little as once a day to feed them. In Yukon, Snowshoe Hares have up to 4 litters between May and September, twice as many as in some southern regions.

Diet

Grasses, buds, bark

Distribution

Snowshoe Hare distribution map.

Sights and sounds

Snowshoe Hare track.
Snowshoe Hare track: 11.3 x 9.4 cm.
Photograph of trees with bark stripped by Snowshoe Hares.
Chewed bark.

Snowshoe Hare pellets.
Pellets: 0.8 cm.

Hares and people

  • Snowshoe Hares have always been an important food source for Yukoners in remote areas and are still our most popular small game species.