A specialized thick fur coat insulates it, while short ears reduce heat loss and densely furred feet help prevent sinking in the snow. In addition, it possesses strong claws for digging through snow and ice.
It prefers to eat woody plants of various types, especially willow.
It generally shelters in a depression on the ground, sometimes with one or more companions, but during severe winter weather it will dig a tunnel to escape the cold.
Social groups consisting of ten to sixty individuals are common, and sometimes herds of several thousand form on arctic islands.
Arctic hares can hop up to forty miles (60 km) or so per hour, outrunning most potential predators.
During the breeding season, males become aggressive, slashing out at other males or boxing with their fore feet.
The females give birth to young in a shallow depression lined with moss and grass, and after a couple of weeks they deposit the young in a communal nursery containing up to twenty offspring.
Name: Arctic Hare (Lepus arcticus)
Family: Leporidae (Hares and Rabbits)
Range: Northern Canada and Greenland
Habitat: Rocky slopes and tundra regions
Diet: Woody plants, mosses, lichens, buds, berries, blooms, leaves, sedges, seawee, bark, twigs, roots, and other vegetation
Head and Body Length: 19 to 26 inches (48 to 67 cm)
Tail Length: 1 to 3 inches (3 to 8 cm)
Weight: 6 to 15 pounds (3 to 7 kg)
Life Cycle: Mating early April; gestation about 50 days, two to eight young born
Description: White in winter, blue-gray in summer; black ear-tips in winter; dense, gray underfur; long, black-tipped guard hairs; elongated, curved claws
Conservation Status: Common