Thursday, January 26, 2012

On the Wild Side: Snowshoe Hare in Socks

Nate Zeman caught this photo of a Snowshoe Hare in the middle of his color change.  And, I thought domesticated rabbits had all the fun with colorful fur.  The Snowshoe Hare turns white in the fall after a  summer in a brown coat.  But if it is a year with no snow on the ground like it has been in some areas of North America this year, the hares are conspicuously exposed to predators and human hunters.  All it takes is a dusting of snow so the hares are camouflaged. They also burrow in the snow to stay warm and snow helps them get to more food sources. If several inches of snow falls, the hares are able to reach barks and twigs higher up on the trees. By the way, there is a genetically rare all black snowshoe hare who have a very hard time surviving winters due to their contrasting color in the snow.  See Nate Zeman's amazing fine art photography of wildlife at his website. He also has a few photos of the little wild lagomorphs known as Pikas, too.  (Photo: website)