Friday, April 29, 2011

CARDIGAN WELSH CORGIS

Very, very early this morning, according to Kansas City time, there was this thing called a Royal Wedding.  And what happens at a Royal Wedding is that a Prince marries a beautiful woman, and she becomes a Princess, and they live happily ever after.  And someday they might even end up being the King and Queen.

A lot of people got up in the middle of the night to watch the Royal Wedding, but we didn't.  We just kept on sleeping.  If there had been any dogs in the wedding, it might have been worth watching, but there weren't, so it wasn't.  Or at least that's what I think!


We don't know if the Royal Newlyweds have any dogs, or what kind of dogs they even like.  Prince William's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, likes Pembroke Welsh Corgis, as I told you in a blog entry before.  But there is a second kind of corgi, and it is called the Cardigan Welsh Corgi.  Personally, I think the Cardigan is cuter than the Pembroke corgi, but that is just my opinion.  Anyway, because of the Royal Wedding, it seemed like I should talk about a British type of dog, so the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is the breed I chose.






Corgis have probably been around for 3,000 years or more, which makes them one of the oldest of all herding breeds.  They started out in Wales, and they probably came from the Teckel family of dogs, which is where the dachshund also came from.  The words cor gi mean "dwarf dog" in Welsh, and in the old days, corgis used to be called "yard-long dogs."

At first, corgis were just used to guard the flocks and herds, but later on, people started teaching corgis to also do actual herding.  The reason the dogs were bred to be so short is so that if a cow tried to kick them, the kick would miss the dogs instead of knocking their heads off.







Cardigan Corgis and Pembroke Corgis are close relatives, but their genes show that they are two separate breeds.  Researchers think that the Pembroke was crossed with Norwegian dog breeds during the Viking invasion of England and Wales.

The easiest way to tell the difference between the two breeds is to look at their tails.  The Cardigan has a long, bushy one, and the Pembroke has no tail at all, or only a very short one.  Also the Cardigan Corgi is somewhat more reserved with strangers than the Pembroke is.








The coat of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is double, with a straight, waterproof outer layer, and a softer inner coat that makes nice insulation for the dog.  The coat is thicker around the neck and rear legs.  Accepted colors are red, brindle, black-and-tan, black, and blue merle.  There are usually white markings on the head, neck, chest, legs, muzzle, belly, and tail tip.  A totally white corgi is not acceptable by AKC standards.







Corgis are very loyal family dogs, and they make good watch dogs.  They tend to be most affectionate with the people they know, and they are more wary of strangers.  They have lots of energy, so they need plenty of exercise.  Corgis are smart and easily trained, and they like children.  They do well competing in events such as agility, obedience, flyball, tracking, and herding trials.











The average Cardigan is between 10.5 and 13 inches tall.  Males weigh 30-38 pounds, and females weigh 25-34 pounds.  They usually live for 12 to 14 years.

Okay, well, that's all I'm going to tell you about the Cardigan Welsh Corgi.  If you're one of those people who got up early to watch the Royal Wedding, I suggest that you go back to bed now and take a nice, long nap!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

SOME VERY NICE QUOTES

These quotes were said by some very smart people, so that means they are very good and very true things to say.  The quotes are not exactly about dogs, but they are about animals, and since dogs are animals, the quotes could apply to dogs.  So anyway, I hope you like them.



All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it.

 ~Samuel Butler











Animals can communicate quite well. And they do. And generally speaking, they are ignored.   ~ Alice Walker













If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.  ~ Albert Einstein














The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity.    



~George Bernard Shaw













An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language.    


~Martin Buber





Wednesday, April 27, 2011

BONOBOS

Mom just read a book that has bonobos in it, so she said maybe I should write about them in my blog.  The name of the book is Ape House, and it was written by Sara Gruen.  This same writer also wrote Water for Elephants, which is now a movie that is playing right here in town, and Mom wants to go see it soon.

Anyway, the apes in Ape House are bonobos, which are sometimes also called pygmy chimpanzees or dwarf chimpanzees.  There are humans in the book, too, and there is a pit bull named Booger.  I think that any book with a dog in it is a good book.  Mom said she liked reading the book, even though there was some stuff in it that was a little goofy.  And mostly she thought the bonobos were interesting, so now I will tell you what I learned about them when I did my research.
Bonobos are Great Apes.  Other Great Apes include orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and humans.  Apes are different from monkeys because they don't have tails, like monkeys do.  Also, they have shoulder joints that make it so they can swing from vine to vine, like Tarzan.  Monkeys just have to run along the tops of the trees, and what fun is that?

Chimpanzees and bonobos probably have the same ancestors, and they evolved in the Congo, in central Africa, which is the same place that my distant cousins, the basenjis live.  Anyway, a long, long time ago, the Congo River formed, and it got to be a really big river that the chimpanzees couldn't cross because they are not very good swimmers.  So the chimps on the south side of the Congo became bonobos, and the chimps on the north side became what we call the common chimpanzee.
The name bonobo might have come from the Bantu language, where it means "chimpanzee" or "ancestor."  Or the name might come from the town of Bolobo, on the Congo River, and somebody spelled it wrong.

Bonobos are smaller and more slender than chimpanzees.  They have longer legs and skinnier necks, and they aren't as burly-looking.  Their backs are straighter, so when they are walking upright -- which they do about 25% of the time -- they look more like humans.  They have black faces with pink lips, small ears, wide noses, and long hair that just naturally parts in the middle.
The favorite food of bonobos is fruit, but they also eat leaves and meat from small animals such as flying squirrels and invertebrates.  They even sometimes eat smaller primates.

But what's really interesting about bonobos is that they never get violent and kill each other, like chimpanzees and humans do.  Researchers have been trying to figure out for years why bonobos are so nice and peaceful, and they have come up with several reasons.
One reason is that in the Congo, there was always lots of food, so bonobos didn't have to compete for it, and they could share their food without having to go hungry.  Also the bonobos have a matriarchal society, which means that GIRLS RULE!  The female bonobos are good buddies with each other, so they can dominate the males.  A young male bonobo has to be introduced to bonobo society by his mother.

But the very most important reason that bonobos seem to get along so well with each other is that they have lots of sex.  Any time they get excited or stressed about something, they just have sex, and then they feel calm and happy again.  There are lots of kinds of sex among the bonobos:  males with females,  females with females, or males with males.  They might do it face-to-face or orally.  It's just kind of a fun, quick thing they do, and not a big deal.  Plus it's usually not about making baby bonobos.
When scientists looked inside the brains of bonobos, they found out that the parts of the brain that make you feel sad because somebody else is upset or distressed were bigger than those brain parts in chimps.  So this might be another reason why these apes are so peaceful and loving.

Bonobos are really smart, and some of them have been taught American Sign Language so that they can talk to people.  Also they can use computers that have pictures on them that the bonobos can push to communicate.  Several bonobos live in a place in Des Moines called the Great Ape Trust, and the researchers there play with the bonobos and study them.  Before Ms. Gruen wrote Ape House, she spent some time at the Great Ape Trust.  The bonobos in the book and maybe also the researchers in the book are based on the ones she met in Des Moines.
Meanwhile, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, people are trying to save the wild bonobos, who are ENDANGERED.  There might be 10,000 bonobos left in the wild, but no one knows for sure.  In the DRC, there is a lot of fighting, so apes get killed for their meat.  And also their habitat gets destroyed.

One group that is working to save the bonobos is the Bonobo Conservation Initiative.  The BCI has offices in the U.S. and also in the DRC, and they are trying to get local communities to help protect bonobos and the rainforest.  The way they do this is by educating people and teaching them better ways to farm the land so that more forests don't get cut down.
I wish we had a bonobo at our house to play with.  Mom says we couldn't have just one, though, because it would get too lonely and not have anybody to have sex with.  And then Mom said she can't really afford more animals and more vet bills, not to mention having to buy a bunch of play equipment and toys for our bonobos, if we had them.  So I guess this means we won't be getting any bonobos any time soon, and I think that is just really sad.

Monday, April 25, 2011

THE TOP TEN PREDATORS

I found this list on the Animal Planet site, and it's a very scary list because any of these predators might think a cute little basenji like myself would make a good meal!  So I'm going to do my best to avoid these animals, and I suggest that all my blog readers do the same.

10.  TARANTULA
These big, creepy-looking, hairy spiders like to hide and wait until some small animal comes by, and then they pounce.  They use their long legs to grab the prey, and after that, they crush it with their fangs.  Next, they spit out some digestive juices and then lap up their pre-digested dinner.  Yuck!











9.  BLACK MAMBA
This African snake is very, very poisonous.  Mostly mambas are shy, but if they are cornered, they get aggressive.  And they don't just strike once, they strike a bunch of times, just to make sure plenty of venom gets into their victims.  It used to be that a black mamba bite was 100% fatal, but now there is more anti-venom available, so not everybody dies after being bitten.






8.  PIRANHA
These ferocious fish live in South America, and they have very sharp teeth.  They like to lurk in the water at dawn or dusk and then dart out and attack any small animal passing by.  Sometimes piranhas even form a gang of fish so they can eat larger prey such as horses, capybaras, or people.








7.  GRAY WOLF
Wolves are very smart and social and cooperative, so they hunt in packs.  This way, they can kill some big animals that one wolf hunting alone couldn't kill.  The best method for wolves to hunt is to separate one animal from its herd and then chase it.  When the animal gets tired, the wolves surround it and kill it.







6.  KOMODO DRAGON
A Komodo Dragon is a really, really huge lizard.  It can weigh 300 pounds and be 10 feet long.  But it's not just big and scary-looking -- it's also a good swimmer, fast runner and has a toxic bite.  The way a Komodo Dragon hunts is by ambushing its prey, and it can kill animals that are twice its size.








5.  CROCODILE
This is another very sneaky predator with strong jaws and lots of sharp teeth.  Crocodiles like to hide under the water until some poor, innocent animal such as a zebra comes to get a drink, and then the crocodile grabs it and drags it underwater and spins around and around to tear off big hunks of flesh.






4.  KILLER WHALE
Orcas also have a bunch of tricks for capturing their prey, like for example, they will jump up and knock seals and penguins off of their ice floes.  Then they grab them when they fall in the water.  Another trick they use is to beach themselves just so they can reach the seals on the shore.  Killer whales are social, like wolves, so they sometimes hunt in groups to capture bigger prey.  They have even been known to eat great white sharks by doing this.




3.  GRIZZLY BEAR
These bears are very strong and powerful.  A male grizzly stands 7 feet tall and weighs more than 800 pounds.  It can kill a human with one swipe of its paw.  Grizzlies can also run fast and swim well, plus they have big, strong jaws for crushing their food.








2.  LION
Lions hunt in groups, the same as wolves and orcas do.  This is why they can catch really big prey, like wildebeests and buffalo.  Having sharp teeth and claws, and being able to leap far and run fast also helps them be good hunters.








And now for the number one, top predator:


1.  GREAT WHITE SHARK
These sharks are very strong swimmers, and they can leap high out of the water to grab their prey.  They have tons of really, really sharp teeth that are in rows in their mouths.  So as soon as one tooth falls out, another one moves up to take its place.  A great white shark might go through 50,000 teeth in its life.  The way the great white hunts is that it attacks by making one big, nasty bite.  Then it waits for the prey to get weak before it moves in to finish the job and have a nice meal.



So those are the best hunters in the animal kingdom.  I guess it's nice that they have so many predator skills, but I don't want them using their skills on me!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

THE EASTER BUNNY

Spoiler alert!  Spoiler alert!  If you are a young child and you are reading this, you need to stop right now and go find something else to read.  I mean it!  Stop reading right now or you will be sorry!

Okay, you have been warned.  Now I will tell you this sad truth:  the Easter Bunny isn't real.  He is what you call a mythical creature.  And the way we know this is because (1) rabbits cannot lay eggs, and (2) even if they could lay eggs, there is no way that one bunny could deliver eggs to every house in one night.  This is kind of the same problem as with Santa Claus, but that is a whole different holiday.  And also, no one ever said Santa Claus could lay eggs.

So how did this myth of the Easter Bunny get started?  Well, it is a very old myth, and it probably goes all the way back to the 13th Century in Germany, before people started being Christians.  In those days, they worshipped a bunch of different gods and goddesses, and one of them was called Eostra.  She was the goddess of spring and fertility, and the rabbit was her sacred animal because rabbits can make lots of baby rabbits in a very short time.



Meanwhile, the Saxons had a goddess named Oestre or Eastre, who was the goddess of the dawn and the spring.  In Germany, she was called Ostara, and she was a fertility goddess.  All these different names are kind of confusing, but as you can see, they are also all similar, and the word Easter comes from the name of this spring goddess.

Here's a story about the goddess Ostara that is pretty interesting.  One year, Ostara arrived late, and she found a little bird whose wings had been frozen by the snow.  So she made a pet of him, and since he couldn't fly anymore, she turned him into a snow hare with the gift of being able to run really fast.  And because he had been a bird before, she gave him the ability to lay eggs, just like birds do.  The eggs were all different colors and they were really pretty, but the hare could only lay eggs one day out of the whole year.



Easter Bunny Cavalry

Later on, the hare made Ostara angry, so she threw him up into the sky, where he became the constellation Lepus, the Hare, and he always had to be under the feet of the constellation Orion, the Hunter.  But one day each spring, he was allowed to come back to earth and give away his eggs to the children who came to the festivals in honor of Ostara.

There are some other stories about how the Easter Bunny got his start, but I decided to tell you that one because I liked it the best.

Easter Bunny Chorus Line
Anyway, the tradition of a rabbit bringing Easter eggs to children mostly seems to have started in Alsace, the Upper Rhineland, and southwestern Germany.  The first record of it was in a German publication in the 1500s, and in about 1680, the first story about a rabbit laying eggs and hiding them in a garden was published.  In the early 19th century, the first Easter eggs that you could eat were made of pastry and sugar, also in Germany.

When German settlers came to Pennsylvania Dutch country in the 18th century, they brought the Easter Bunny legend with them.  On the night before Easter, children would make nests out of bonnets and caps, and then they would put these in some hidden part of their houses.  If the children had been good, the Easter Hare would come and lay colorful eggs in the nests.

Nowadays, children do not have to make nests for the Easter Bunny to lay eggs in, because the Bunny just brings the eggs in a basket.  Sometimes there are also toys and candy and other goodies, too.  Sometimes the Easter Bunny even drops eggs from a helicopter, which means he can get more eggs to more children in a shorter length of time.  But the children can't stand under the helicopter while the eggs are being dropped, because someone might get killed by a falling egg, which would be very sad.

Oh, and speaking of Easter eggs, here's a little trivia:  the largest Easter egg ever made was more than 25 feet high and weighed over 8,000 pounds.  It was made by the Belgian chocolate company Guylian in the city of St. Niklaas.  It took more than 50,000 chocolate bars to make this egg, and it had a steel frame inside it to hold it up.

Just think how big a bunny would have to be to lay an egg like that, and also think how fat you would get if you ate it!

Friday, April 22, 2011

WHITE LIONS

Yesterday I learned that there is such a thing as a white lion.  I had heard of white elephants and white tigers before, but I never heard of a white lion.  The way I found out about these lions was that Mom saw a little article in the newspaper yesterday morning, and she showed it to me.  The article said that 4 white lion cubs were born Monday at the zoo in Belgrade, Serbia.  The mother of the cubs is also a white lion, and now she is busy nursing her babies.  The zoo also has 2 other adult white lions and some regular tan-colored lions.  But what people mostly go to see at the Belgrade zoo is the white lions.


The main place in Africa where white lions are found is in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, which is in the northeast part of South Africa.  It's right nextdoor to Kruger National Park.  Probably the lions have lived there for many centuries, but the first written record of someone seeing one was in 1938.  The native people thought of the white lion as sacred.  Many people believed that the white lion could not keep on living in the wild, so that is why people started putting them in zoos and breeding them there.

But now there are people who are trying to reintroduce the white lion to the wild, and they started doing this in 2009.  The lions that got put back into the wild learned to hunt and take care of themselves in no time at all, and they are doing well.




Sadly, people are still allowed to hunt lions, and in many places it's okay to shoot a lion, no matter what color it is.  So of course lots of hunters want to shoot a white lion because they think that is more special than just shooting an ordinary lion.  There is even something called a "canned hunt," where the animals are kept in a fenced area so it's more likely that the hunter will be able to find one and shoot it.  I guess this is kind of like shooting fish in a barrel, and it doesn't seem very fair to me.

But anyway, there is a group called the Global White Lion Protection Trust, and they are trying to get more laws passed that would protect the white lions.

You might think that white lions are albinos, but they are not.  The reason the lions are white is because of a recessive gene that is called a chinchilla or color inhibitor gene.  This gene is actually a mutation that keeps any color from being deposited on the hair shaft.  Even the manes and tail tips of the males are white instead of being dark brown or black, like they would be on an ordinary lion.

I'd like to see a white lion sometime because I think they are very beautiful.  But if I saw one, I would rather see it in a zoo, and not in the wild because I don't want to end up as lion food!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

MY OBEDIENCE CLASS, by Nicky

Mom enrolled me in an obedience class, even though I am a perfectly well-behaved dog, at least most of the time.  Mom has some idea about making me into a therapy dog, so that's why she signed me up for the class.  Also the class is all greyhounds, and that makes it a very special class.

Anyway, last night, Mom and I went to the third class session.  Mom was embarrassed to go to class because we had not done our homework, not even once all week.  But nobody found out that we hadn't done our homework because in this class, you don't have to get up and perform the stuff you were supposed to learn.  Mom says she will be better about making us do our homework next week, but I'm not holding my breath.

What we learned last night was "stand" and "stay."  We practiced these commands a few times in class, and I must say I did them quite well.  So I don't think we'll have any trouble with them.  Mom would like me to learn "sit," but we greyhounds don't much like to sit because our bodies aren't designed to be very comfortable sitting.  Mom thinks she will try to teach me "sit," though, and also "down," because that one would be easier for a greyhound to do.

Our homework last week was supposed to be about me coming to Mom when she calls me.  Mom thinks this would be an excellent thing for me to learn, but I don't see it as all that big a deal.  Frankly, there are a lot of times when I would prefer to stay out in the yard and watch for squirrels rather than coming in the house just because Mom wants me to.

Also Mom would like me to stop digging in the yard.  She already filled up my favorite hole with a bunch of bricks, so I had to start doing further excavation on the other holes I've got started.  When I get a bunch of nice, soft dirt loosened up, then what I like to do is lie down and stick my head in the hole and eat some of the dirt.  Yum!

Mom doesn't understand why I like to do this, just like she doesn't understand why Mel and Barry and Piper like to eat poop.  But my philosophy is that a dog just needs to get some pleasure out of life, and if Mom could look at it this way, too, maybe she wouldn't get so uptight about all the stuff we dogs enjoy doing.

Oh, and guess what Mom found in the yard yesterday while she was picking up poop:  a dead mouse!  Mom could tell that one of us dogs or maybe a cat had killed it, but she didn't know which one of us did it.  I know exactly what happened to the mouse, but my lips are sealed.  There are some things that we dogs just don't talk about!

Okay, well, I kind of got off the topic of my obedience class.  Mom doesn't like the instructors all that much, and she doesn't agree with some of their methods, so that's one reason she doesn't feel motivated to make me do my homework.  But she thinks that part of the stuff that's taught in class is useful.  Also the class wasn't cheap, so if we're going to get our money's worth out of it, I guess we'd better get busy and learn something!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

MOM DOES HER CIVIC DUTY

Jackson County Courthouse
Mom had to do something yesterday that is called "jury duty."  And what this meant was she had to go downtown to the Jackson County Courthouse and sit there all day to find out if they wanted her to be on a jury.  You will probably remember from your high school civics class, or else from watching a show like Boston Legal on TV, that a jury is a group of 12 people who listen to a trial and then decide who they think is right and who is wrong.  Juries are very important in the American Justice System, or at least that's what Mom told me.

Sadly, dogs are not allowed to be on juries.  I think it would be fun to spend several days hanging out with 11 other dogs and snoozing in a courtroom, but I guess I won't get the chance to do that.

Anyway, since Mom was eager to do her part for the justice system, she made us all get up early so she could go do jury duty.  And also she was required by law to show up, or else she would get a big fine and maybe have to go to jail or something bad like that.

Andrew Jackson riding a horse
in front of the Courthouse
One other time, Mom had to do jury duty, but that time she didn't even get called for a panel, which is a group of people that they pick a jury out of.  She thought the same thing might happen again yesterday, but guess what!  She was wrong.  Not only did Mom get picked for a panel, but she actually ended up being one of the people picked for the jury!

This means that Mom will have to go back to the courthouse today and sit through the trial, and then she has to go again tomorrow and do something called "deliberations."  I hate it that she will be away from home so much, but she says it is only for three days, so we dogs can survive it.  Yesterday Nicky peed in his belly band and got it all soaking wet, and someone else peed in the back part of the kitchen.  Mom thinks it was me, but I plead the fifth amendment, which is something that people do sometimes when they are in a courtroom.  Today Mom is taking Nicky to doggy daycare, but the rest of us are staying here at home.



Mom is not supposed to talk about the court case that her jury will be hearing, so she wouldn't tell me anything much about it.  But she did say that it is a civil case, which means that no crime was committed, and nobody will be going to jail when the case is over.  But somebody might get some money from the other party if they win the case.  Also Mom said there are no dogs involved in the case, so I think this means it will be pretty boring.

Art Deco grill on front of Courthouse
Anyway, since I can't talk about the case, I will tell you a little bit about the courthouse instead.  Mom really likes the courthouse because it was built in 1934 in what is called an Art Deco style.  And Mom likes Art Deco quite a bit.  Mom didn't take her camera to jury duty today because she doesn't know if she would be allowed to bring a camera in the building.  So she doesn't have any pictures of the inside of the courthouse.  But I looked on the internet, and I found a few pictures of the outside of the building.





1936 photo of Courthouse and City Hall,
which is also Art Deco style

Art Deco was invented in Paris in the 1920s, and it was kind of a mix of styles with a lot of geometric shapes that look elegant and stylish.  There are a whole bunch of historic styles mixed up together to make Art Deco, like for example Greco-Roman, Babylonian, Assyrian, Egyptian, African, and Aztec.

At the time the Jackson County Courthouse was built, Harry S Truman was the presiding judge of the Jackson County Court, and he had a lot to say about what the courthouse should look like.  He had an office in the building for most of the time he was a U.S. Senator, which was from 1935 to 1939.







Okay, well, that's all I'm going to say about Mom's jury duty now.  But I will also tell you that Mom was a good citizen yesterday because she paid her income taxes, which were due this year on the 18th instead of the 15th.  Usually Mom doesn't owe any money for taxes, but this year she did, so she had to pay.  Luckily, she will be making $6 a day as a juror, plus 7 cents per mile to drive downtown to the courthouse.  So I'm sure that will pretty much make up for what Mom had to pay in taxes!

Monday, April 18, 2011

SNOWSHOE HARES

I think it's time I told you about another kind of bunny, since it is the Year of the Rabbit, as you might remember.  So today I will talk about the snowshoe hare.  These animals like to live up north, where there's lots of snow in the winter.  And what's really neat about them is that they can change colors with the seasons.  So in the winter, they are white, like snow.  And in the summer, they are brown, like the ground and the tree trunks.

Here's a map of all the places where snowshoe hares live, and as you can see, they are all over the place, especially in Canada.  They are not endangered at all, and that is because there are tons of them.  And the way there got to be so many of them is that they multiply like bunnies!

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!
Anyway, when the leverets are born, they already have all their fur.  Also their eyes are open, and they can move around.  This is one big difference between hares and rabbits, because rabbits are born hairless.  Hares live in nests that are made in shallow holes in the ground, like maybe under some shrubs, but rabbits live underground in burrows.  So that's another difference between them.  Also rabbits have been tamed to make house pets, but hares have not.

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.
Snowshoe hares run very fast.  They can go almost 30 miles an hour, and each bound is 10 feet long.  They have really big feet that act like snowshoes and help the hares run on top the snow.  So lots of times they can just outrun their predators.  Other times, they stay hidden because of their camouflage coat colors.  Their fur has three layers, and it is the outer layer that sheds twice a year so a new color can grow in.  It takes about 70 days for the color to change.
The places that snowshoe hares like to live are in young forests with lots of shrubby stuff for them to hide in.  Finding good places to live where it's easy to hide is even more important to them than finding places with lots of yummy food.

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.
I am sorry that snowshoe hares do not live in Missouri, because I think if I caught one, it would make a tasty meal.  But there are no snowshoe hares here, so I guess I will just have to be happy with cottontail rabbits -- if I can ever manage to catch one of them!