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The Arctic Hare (Lepus arcticus) is the largest extant species of hare in North America. These hares are highly-adaptive to living in cold regions and other icy biomes. Under the genus Lepus, these hares belong to the family Leporidae, under the order Lagomorpha.
See the fact file below for more information on the Arctic Hare or alternatively, you can download our 21-page Arctic Hare worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
ORIGIN AND SUBSPECIES
- In 1819, Arctic explorer John Ross first described the Arctic hares.
- There are four subspecies of this hare: (1) Lepus arcticus arcticus, (2) Lepus arcticus banksii, (3) Lepus arcticus groenlandicus, and (4) Lepus arcticus monstrabilis.
- The average weight of arctic hares are around 2.5 to 7 kg, and female arctic hares tend to be larger than male arctic hares.
- The average length of arctic hares are around 48 to 86 cm long, while their short tails have an average length of around 3 to 8 cm.
- The fur of arctic hares is grayish-brown in the summer, white in the winter, and blue-gray in spring.
- The white coat-like fur of arctic hares during winter helps them camouflage in the snow against their predators.
- Arctic hares have short ears with black tips. They also have black eyelashes that protect them and their eyes from glare.
- Arctic hares can see 360 degrees around them without even turning their heads; this is due to the placement of their eyes.
- They also have long claws, especially on their hind legs. They use their claws to dig in packed snow.
- Arctic hares, just like other hares and rabbits, are fast and can bound at a speed of up to 40 miles an hour.
- The paws of arctic hares are heavily padded with fur in order for them to be able to spread their weight while walking on soft snow, to insulate themselves from snow and ice, and to provide grip when walking on slippery surfaces.
- Arctic hares have a very keen sense of smell for them to know where they should dig, and for them to find food beneath the snow.
- Arctic hares are mammals and are omnivores, meaning they can eat food of both plant and animal origin.
- They are also nocturnal animals; they are active at night.
- During winter, arctic hares eat woody plants, mosses, and lichens that they may find by digging through the snow.
- Arctic hares often live in groups during winter months so they can cuddle for warmth. They also use this as a means for predators to not spot them easily since they would be able to confuse them.
- Some predators of arctic hares include the arctic wolf, arctic fox, red fox, grey wolf, lynx, snowy owl, gray falcon, and the ermine.
- Arctic hares do not hibernate, instead, they survive the dangerous cold because of some behavioral and psychological adaptations. Some of these are how arctic hares have thick fur. They also enjoy low-surface areas to volume ratio which conserve their body’s heat. They also dig shelters in snow wherein they huddle together to share warmth.
- Arctic hares live in the harsh environment of the North American tundra.
- They are distributed in some of the regions of Greenland, the Canadian Arctic Islands and Northern Canada, including Ellesmere Island, and farther south in Labrador and Newfoundland.
- In Newfoundland and southern Labrador, coat colors of these hares change. They moult and grow new fur. Those in the far north of Canada, on the other hand, remain white all year round.
- Except during the mating season, these hares eat buds, berries, leaves, roots, and barks.
- During mating season, unlike other mammals, arctic hares disperse instead of forming groups.
- They usually mate between April and May. Male arctic hares box females with their front legs.
- After mating, babies are born in late May through July. Babies are called “leverets.”
- Female arctic hares build nests in a depression in the ground, which is usually behind some rocks or behind bushes, line them with grass and their fur.
- Females usually give birth to around two to eight young arctic hares.
- They are historically important to Native Americans since they were hunted for their fur and used to make clothing.
- Arctic hares have up to 20% of their body mass as fat for insulation, especially since they live in a place that has a cold weather.
- They have an average lifespan of 3 to 5 years in the wild.
Arctic Hare Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Arctic Hare across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Arctic Hare worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Arctic Hare (Lepus arcticus) which is the largest extant species of hare in North America. These hares are highly-adaptive to living in cold regions and other icy biomes. Under the genus Lepus, these hares belong to the family Leporidae, under the order Lagomorpha.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Arctic Hare Facts
- Meet an Arctic Hare
- Arctic Hare Anatomy
- Arctic Hare Wiki
- An Arctic Hare’s Life
- My Habitat
- Arctic vs Snowshoe
- Other Hares
- Arctic Friends
- Arctic Hare Mask
- Coping with Climate Change
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Link will appear as Arctic Hare Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 14, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.