Follow my blog as I explore the mammals of Nova Scotia!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Snowshoe Hare

Thank you for the responses, you are great inquirers! You are right, the big feet are another adaptation. The hare uses it's feet to help it escape from predators. The big hairy feet help it to run quickly over the top of snow drifts and to whack its enemy with the hind feet.

The reason I asked about the coloring of the snowshoe hare is because we learned from Dr. Newman (one of our scientists) that most of the time the color change helps the hares to hide from predators, however, because of the change in climate (weather/temperature) the hares are getting confused. Recently the weather has not matched what would typically be expected, meaning it snows for the first time at the end of December and can snow still in April (just like in MN).

How a hare knows to change color
A snowshoe hare changes color based on the length of day, it actually has nothing to do with the temperature! As the days get shorter and it starts getting dark earlier the hare changes from brown to white. When the days begin to get longer the hare changes back to brown. Because of the climate changes the hares are changing, but often their fur color is not matching the
environment (area it lives in) and it becomes a moving target for predators. The other thing happening is some of the hares are a brownish white color and that coloring still makes it much easier to be seen.

Talk about why the snow is not falling as the days get shorter and melting as they get longer... what is causing this change in climate?

I'd love to hear your thoughts when we Skype tomorrow!
-Miss Beeman-


At April 16, 2009 at 10:04 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

We think predators are finding the rabbits more easily now because the rabbits are turning white too soon. It probably doesn't snow until later in the winter now because the temperatures are warmer in the climate than they used to be. We think it would be bad for the rabbits to turn white before there is snow!
Mr. Bordson's Class


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