Snowshoe Hare
(Lepus americanus) #64-120

Picture of a Jack-rabbit.

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Physical characteristics and distribution

Snowshoe Hare Lepus americanus

Head and body length of L. americanus is between 400-700 mm, tail length is 35-100 mm. Weights range from 1,350-7,000 grams. Females are generally larger than males. L. americanus has long, black-tipped ears and large hind feet which are well furred. Upper parts are reddish brown with white below. There are two molts per year, when L. americanus grows a white pelage for the winter and then sheds it for the summer. In the Pacific Northwest, where there is not continuous snow cover during the winter, L. americanus retains the reddish brown coloration year round.

L. americanus
prefers evergreen forests, and is primarily nocturnal and crepuscular, using a log or stump for shelter by day. At night, a complex system of runways through grass and undergrowth are used. During the summer, L. americanus clips the vegetation along these pathways and packs it down in the winter. They prefer grasses and herbaceous matter when available, taking buds, twigs and bark in the winter.

Gestation lasts 30-38 days, with 4 litters produced per year. Population densities are cyclical throughout its range, and during peak times, litter size ranges from 8-10 offspring. At other times the average litter size is 4 leverets. They are born fully furred, in an open place or shallow depression. The young are visited by the female for nursing, but are highly precocial. At 1 day old they can crawl, nibble grass at 10 days, and are weaned at 1 month. Life expectancy for L. americanus is short, about 1-2 years, as they are prey to coyotes, bobcats, Canada lynxes, red foxes, weasels, and man.

L. americanus is found in S and C Alaska (USA) to S and C coasts of Hudson Bay to Newfoundland and Anacosti Isl (introduced) (Canada), south to S Appalachians, S Michigan, Norht Dakota, NC New Mexico, SC Utah, and EC California (USA).

Description of the brain

Animal source and preparation
All specimens collected followed the same preparation and histological procedure.

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