MOUNTAIN HARE – Lepus timidus

MOUNTAIN HARE

Mountain hare facts: The mountain hare is medium-sized with short ears and hind legs. It has a body length of 18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 centimeters) and weighs 2.2 to 8.8 pounds (1 to 4 kilograms.) Their fur changes from brown in the summer to white in the winter.

Geographic range: Mountain hares are found in Arctic and adjacent temperate areas of northern Europe and Asia, from Ireland to eastern Siberia.

Mountain hare habitat: Mountain hares live in tundra, subarctic coniferous forests, mixed coniferous and deciduous forests, and transitional zones with open clearings, swamps, and river valleys.

What does mountain hare eat: Mountain hares are herbivores, meaning they are plant-eaters. Their diet varies by habitat and season. In the summer, forest dwellers eat mostly grasses, leaves, and twigs. Tundra inhabitants eat primarily alpine plants along with grasses, lichen, and bark. In the winter, heather is the main food source.

Behavior and reproduction: The mountain hare is primarily solitary and is seen in groups only when breeding. The breeding season is from January to September. Females have one or two litters per year, with a litter size of one to four babies. If there is an early spring, females can have up to three litters. The gestation period, the time the female carries the young in her womb, is forty-seven to fifty-four days.

Mountain hares and people: Hunted by humans for its meat and fur.

Conservation status: The mountain hare is not considered threatened by the IUCN.