The polar rabbit or arctic hare, an amazing land mammal, can easily be found in parts of North America, northern parts of Canada and in Greenland. They are the one of the largest living lagomorphs and considered as the subspecies of the mountain hare and snowshoe hare. Short ears and thick fur are some of their common physical traits which are helpful for them to survive in cold. Like other hares, their ear tips are black. They do not hibernate in winter but by adapting genetic and physiological changes, can easily manage to survive in winter. In southern range, they easily change their fur color from brown or grey in summers to snowy white in winters. This white color provides camouflage from their predators. In a region like north Canada, where there is less summer, their color remains white all around the year.
Compared with rabbits; arctic hare are larger in size and have taller hind legs which help them to run faster up to speed of 40 miles per hour. At time of danger, they run like kangaroos by their wide hind legs. They dig shelters in snow and live in company of hundreds and thousands to share warmth. They are mostly found alone but some time they move in groups. They can weigh up to 5.5 to 7 Kg and as a whole, 23 inches long. They usually live up to six to seven years. Their ears are the main communication mechanism.
These hare come under the omnivore group. They mostly survive by eating woody plants, willow twigs and mosses in cold season, buds, leaves, berries and barks in summers. Purple saxifrage is their favorite food in early summer. They have great sense of smell and can dig deep into snow to find food. Some of these species can live on meat.
In spring or early summer, female arctic hare can give birth from two to eight babies at a time. During the mating season, their groups disperse and every male can have more than one female partner. Babies live with their mother until they reach up to maturity level. This duration could last from six to seven months and they come to the size of their parents. The arctic hare have great importance to Native Americans. These are used for food resource and their fur is used in clothing. People enjoy delectable food made of these species.