Monday, April 18, 2011
The females can start breeding when they are about a year old. It takes 35-40 days before the baby hares are born. Did you know that baby hares are called leverets? I didn't know this before, but now I know it. Anyway, here is something really interesting. A mama hare can get pregnant a second time before her first litter is even born! And the reason she can do this is because female hares have two uteruses. Wow! Talk about having some buns in the oven!
A female snowshoe hare can have as many as four litters in a year. Each litter usually has between three and eight leverets. These baby hares can leave their nests within 24 hours of when they are born. But it's a dangerous world out there, and many snowshoe hares don't make it past their first birthday. Here's a list of all the animals and birds that like to eat them: lynxes, bobcats, martens, weasels, minks, foxes, coyotes, mountain lions, owls, hawks, eagles, crows, ravens, black bears, wolves, and domestic dogs and cats.
Mostly, the hares come out at night to eat. During the day, they hang out in their shallow nests, which are called forms. In the spring, they like to eat plants such as blueberry leaves, horsetail shoots, and fireweed. In summer, they eat clover, grasses, and the leaves of willows, spruce, and birches. When it's wintertime, they eat whatever twigs and tree branches and bark they can reach by walking on top the snow. Sometimes they even eat meat that has been caught in traps. Which is weird, because usually you think of rabbits and hares as being strict vegetarians.