Mammals of Pennsylvania Online Resource

Common Name: Snowshoe Hare




Scientific Name:
Lepus americanus  

Prefers overgrown, damp thickets of rhododendron, willows, alders, and hemlock.

Succulent vegetation in summer, woody material in winter.

Interesting Facts:
The snowshoe hare is also called the varying hare. This animal is rusty brown in summer but in the autumn, its guard hairs are replaced by new white hairs which give the mammal an overall white appearance. In addition to allowing this mammal to blend into a snowy landscape, the structure of the white hair includes more air which provides for greater insulation during the colder months. In early spring, the hare goes through another molt which returns it to a summer coat. During the fall molt, the fur on its feet becomes much thicker, aiding in insulation. The extra fur also allows the snowshoe hare to move easily on top of deep snow.

Further Reading:
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