A Guide To British Fauna - The Mountain Hare

Photo:en:User:A.C.Easton, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Scientific Name : Lepus timidus

Common Names : Mountain Hare, Blue Hare, Tundra Hare, Variable hare, White Hare, Snow Hare, Alpine Hare, and Irish Hare.

Physical appearance : The mountain hare is a fairly large species, growing up to 45-65 cm with a tail between 4 and 8 cm. The mountain hare weighs in at around between 2 and 5kgs. In general, the females are often slightly larger than the males.

During summer, the mountain hare displays a brown coat with a white tail. In winter, the brown summer coat is replaced with a white one, the tail however, always remains white. The white tail helps distinguish the mountain hare from the European Hare.

Where to find/natural habitat : As the name suggests, the Mountain Hare is to be found at altitude but is also equally at home in coastal grassland environments, boglands and lowland steppe. The Mountain Hare's diet consists of grasses, twigs and bark. The Mountain Hare's natural habitat stretches from the Pacific Ocean in the east to the eastern edge of Poland and Scandinavia. Additionally, several isolated populations exist throughout the world.

Predation: the Mountain Hare is natural prey for the Golden Eagle, Eurasian Eagle Owl and the Red Fox. Stoats are also capable of taking a younger Mountain Hare.

Edibility : Tha Mountain Hare, like rabbit, is edible and like rabbit, provides little nutirion beyond protein. "Rabbit starvation" is a possibility.

Images courtesy of A.C.Easton

The Bushgear Team