Common Mammal Species of Northwestern Ontario





Lepus americanus
Snowshoe Hare

Snowshoe Hare Description

Distinguishing Features - Overall colouration: Winter - varying degrees of white; tips of ears, black. Summer - rust or dark brown with a blackish mid-back line and grayish sides. Belly, whitish; face, legs and throat, cinnamon; ears, brown with black tips, edged in white; tail, black above and white below. Hind feet, broad.

Size -
36.3 - 52 cm (14.3 - 20.5 in)


Widespread throughout Northwestern Ontario, primarily in densely forested areas, swamps and brushland.


Snowshoe Hare Green vegetation, (clover, grasses and ferns) in summer. Buds, saplings and bark of woody plants in winter. Can also be cannibalistic.


The size of the hare population is directly proportionate to the number of predators in any given area. It is sought for food by owls, hawks, eagles, lynx, bobcat, red fox, coyote, gray wolf, black bear and mink. The predation numbers are usually great - as high as 40% during winter. Yet, hares tend to be quite abundant because they produce as many as four litters of 2 - 4 offspring a year.

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