A snowshoe hare at Hurricane Ridge
Ken and Mary Campbell
Snowshoe Hare - Lepus americanus
Snowshoe hares in the Olympic Mountains are quite unique. While snowshoe hares in other areas may molt from a brown coat to a white coat for the winter, the population in the Olympics does not. The "snowshoes," or large hindfeet, allow them to remain active throughout the winter, leaving unmistakable tracks in the snow. Many snowshoe hares become prey to larger mammals during the winter as they are one of the only small mammals that remains active above the snow cover.
Count yourself lucky if you spot one of these creatures. Though snowshoe hares are relatively widespread in the forests and subalpine regions of the park, they are quite secretive and nocturnal.
During summer months, snowshoe hares feed mainly on grasses and other greens. During the winter months, the snow cover brings them closer to conifer buds and shrub bark, which make up the majority of their diet during this time.
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