One of the world's largest hares - and one of the fastest!
What you need to know about the Arctic Hare
Our Expert Says… "There's more to the Arctic Hare than meets the eye. The first thing that surprises most people is that they can run at more than 40 mph when they need to. The next surprise is that they can swim! Finally, they will often stand up on their long hind legs to get a better view, but can also hop along like this at great speed. An amazing sight!"
The Arctic hare is an iconic species that specializes in living in the icy conditions of the Arctic tundra. Found in Greenland, Northern Canada, and the Canadian Arctic islands, the Arctic Hare is one of the largest hare species in the world.
Growing up to 70cm (28”) long and weighing as much as 7kg (15lb), the Arctic Hare is a substantial animal that relies hugely on willow, which makes up as much as 95% of its diet. Because of the scarcity of unfrozen freshwater in their habitats for much of the year, Arctic hares will eat snow as their source of hydration.
The southernmost populations of the Arctic hare on Newfoundland and Labrador will molt twice a year to maintain camouflage - white fur in the winter, and a mid-brown in the summer. However, the populations that live further north stay white all year round given the short period of summer that is snow and ice-free at higher latitudes.
Arctic hares are prey for Arctic wolves, arctic foxes, gyrfalcons, snowy owls, and other carnivores. To help it survive the cold conditions, the arctic hare’s bodyweight is 20% fat, making it a “high value” prey. Despite its bulk, it is a fast runner. Arctic hares have been clocked traveling at almost 40mph when avoiding predators.
Arctic Hare: Interesting facts
Curious Arctic Hares will stand up on their hind legs and even jump along in this pose.