The Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus) is called “snowshoe” because of the large size of its hind feet and the marks its tail leaves. The animal’s feet prevent it from sinking into the snow when it hops and walks. Its feet also have fur on the soles to protect it from freezing temperatures.
For camouflage its fur turns white during the winter and rusty brown during the summer. Its flanks are white year-round. The Snowshoe Hare is also distinguishable by the black tufts of fur on the edge of its ears. Its ears are shorter than those of most other hares.
In summer, it feeds on plants such as, grass, ferns and leaves; in winter, it eats twigs, the bark from trees, and buds from flowers and plants and, along with the Arctic Hare, has been known to steal meat from baited traps. Hares are cannibalistic under availability of dead conspecifics, and have been known to eat dead mice due to low availability of protein in an herbivorous diet. It is sometimes seen feeding in small groups. This animal is mainly active at night and does not hibernate.
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