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Arctic Hare

John Cousins (February)

We've seen fleeting glimpses of arctic hares in Glencoe and the Mamores in their fantastic winter coat, which luckily matches the snow covered hills. The nearest I can get to them with my camera is this shot of a set of tracks yesterday on Buachaile Etive Beag. This one is moving from left to right with the back feet close together.

Arctic hares have white coats which help camouflage them from predators and thick long hair to provide much-needed insulation. Although they have excellent hearing, they have small ears, to help conserve heat. As you can tell from this shot, they also have very large feet and toes to help them move efficiently on the snow.
In the summer the arctic hare eats small plants. In the winter they eat twigs and, surprisingly, even meat if necessary.

The arctic hare is often referred to as the snowshoe hare because of the way it is able to run on extremely thick layers of snow.

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