Snowshoe Hare

Where the snowshoe hare lives.

Hares live all over Canada. (MAP). They prefer wooded and bushy areas.

Hares never go far from where they were born. This is so that they can escape from their enemies. They know every possible hiding spot in the area - like hollow logs, old burrows, bushes, etc.

The nest is a hollow in the ground under a bush or beside a log.


The females are larger than the males. They can be over 30 cm. long.

Snowshoe hares have large hind feet.

by Steve Canipe,


In the summer the grey-brown coat of the snowshoe hare looks like the ground around it. In the winter the coat turns white to blend with the snow. Everything is white except the tip of its ears which are black.

The big hairy feet help it to run quickly over the top of the snow drifts. It may also whack its enemy with the hind feet.


The snowshoe hare hops about at night looking for grasses, buds, leaves and twigs. In the winter it nibbles bark on trees or pine needles. (Young trees may die if the hare strips the bark off the trunk.)


People find the hare's meat tasty and use the fur for coats and other clothing.

The hare is also food for many meat-eating animals. Its enemies are the wolf, fox, coyote, wolverine, fisher, weasel, hawk or owl. Lynxes also eat snowshoe hares.

The enemy needs to be very fast to catch this mammal. The hare leaps over the ground twisting its body into the air and instantly changing directions.

With so many enemies, the hare is lucky to live for a year.


The mother has two or three litters between April and September. There may be two to ten young in each litter. The young are covered with fur when they are born. The mother leaves them alone during the day but comes to feed them at night.

When they are a day old, they can run about. In two or three days they are able to hop. They start eating grass in two weeks. In a month and a half they no longer drink their mother's milk. The young are very playful and chase each other.

Interesting facts

The snowshoe hare warns others by pounding the ground with its hind feet. When other hares hear this signal they freeze and are as still as logs.


1999 (updated 2011)

Web Pages for Students

range map by S.P.Barrette, source: wikipedia; Creative Commons LicenseAttribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.5)