Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus) Summer/Winter

We have a Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus) that lives under our deck and spends a lot of time in the backyard of our house in Anchorage, Alaska. It’s been fun watching his (we assume it’s a male) fur change from his brown summer morph to his white winter morph. We don’t know his real name, so we call him Dennis Hopper.

Here are a few photos I’ve taken from my kitchen window over the past few months:

December 23, 2010, Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus) also known as the Varying Hare in brown summer morph, Anchorage, Alaska, United States. (Ron Karpilo)
Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus) also know as the Varying Hare in brown summer morph in my backyard in Anchorage, Alaska. © 2010 Ron Karpilo
Photo info: June 6, 2010, Nikon D300 camera w/ Nikkor 17-55mm f2.8 lens at 55mm 1/320 sec at f2.8 and ISO 200.

December 23, 2010, Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus) in white winter morph, Anchorage, Alaska, United States. (Ron Karpilo)
This is the same Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus) as above in his white winter morph in Anchorage, Alaska. He still has a little bit of brown fur on his ears that hasn’t turned white yet. © 2010 Ron Karpilo
Photo info: December 23, 2010, Nikon D300 camera w/ Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 lens at 200mm 1/125 sec at f2.8 and ISO 800.

December 23, 2010, Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus) in white winter morph, Anchorage, Alaska, United States. (Ron Karpilo)
Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus) grooming his white winter coat in Anchorage, Alaska. © 2010 Ron Karpilo
Photo info: December 23, 2010, Nikon D300 camera w/ Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 lens at 180mm 1/200 sec at f2.8 and ISO 800.

December 23, 2010, Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus) in white winter morph, Anchorage, Alaska, United States. (Ron Karpilo)
Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus) trying to hide and conserve heat in the -7 degree F daytime temperature in Anchorage, Alaska. © 2010 Ron Karpilo
Photo info: December 23, 2010, Nikon D300 camera w/ Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 lens at 200mm 1/250 sec at f2.8 and ISO 800.

His white fur is amazing camouflage. When he’s sitting in the snow with his eyes closed, the black and brown fur on the tips of his ears are the only color that betrays his hiding spot. It must be working because he’s successfully avoided predators for the past year.  We know the predators are around. In October we saw a large Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis) in our neighborhood which is the primary predator of Snowshoe Hares. Keep your fingers crossed for him.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Ron Karpilo

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