Arctic Hare LeXie Brengartner

What is the Arctic hare?
  • Lives in North American Tundra
  • Adaptations that allow the hare to not hibernate
  • Herbivore
  • Prey animal and is vital in the tundra food chain
  • Largest lagomorphs, not related to rodents
Classification

Animalia, Chordata, Mammalia, Lagomorpha, Leporidae, Lepus, Lepus Othus

Food Chain

The Arctic Hare is vital to the food chain in the North American tundra. The hare eats almost any plant that lives in the tundra since they are hard to come by under the snow. Also, most predators here eat the hare as one of their main sources of food.

Arctic willow > Arctic hare > Arctic fox > Arctic wolf > Inuk hunter

Water Cycle
  • Live on snow and ice
  • Make their small burrows in fresh snow
  • Eat snow as their main source of water
  • Feed on all plants which are comprised mostly of water
  • Find plants under the snow which has led them to have strong legs to digĀ up the plants from under the snow
Carbon Cycle

The carbon cycle is having a drastic effect on the Arctic hare. The greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere are leading to a warming of the planet. As the planet warms, the habitat of the hare is being destroyed. Without the snow and ice that the hare lives on, the hare will have nowhere to live and no source of water. In addition, the melting of ice will create a marsh-like environment that the Arctic hare is not suited for. Carbon is also found in the plants that the hare eats and among the rocks that makes up the ecosystem.

Niches, Tolerance, Resources

The niche of the arctic hare is to be a main prey for the carnivores and omnivores of the arctic such as foxes and polar bears. The Arctic hare is a keystone species in the ecosystem. The Arctic hare disperses the seeds which they eat through their feces. The arctic hare burrows in fresh snow that is big enough to create warmth. Therefore they need fresh snowfall to survive. During mating season arctic hares separate and reproduce once per year in the spring. The hares obtain their food by searching for food even though it may be scarce. They eat woody plants, lichens, and mosses but can eat berries and leaves in the warmer seasons. The arctic hare can survive in -40 degrees Celsius to 20 degrees Celsius. Their optimum temperature is around 5 degrees Celsius. The Arctic hare lives in the dry areas of the arctic. They cannot live in the marsh or on large pieces of ice (because they cannot find food). They also live above the tree line.

  • TOLERANCE
  • The arctic hare can survive in -40 degree celsius to 20 degrees celsius.
  • The hare can handle to be 6-10 inches of precipitation.
  • RESOURCES
  • There needs to be small plants along the ground for the hare to eat.
  • There needs to be other Arctic hares around nearby for the hares to reproduce.
Organism Relationships

One predator of the arctic hare is the Arctic Gyrfalcon. They hunt the hares by swooping down and catching the hares by surprise. They cut the arctic hare in half first and take them to their nest. The bones are used in the nests afterward. Fleas are a parasite of the arctic hare. They consume the blood of the host which is a hare. They move throughout the fur of the animal. Fleas can spread diseases and cause itchiness to the host.

Biome

The Arctic hares live in the Arctic Tundra but are not found on purely ice since their food is comprised of plants. Here, there are strong winds and it is extremely cold. Also, there is not a lot of precipitation. The winters are long and have little sunlight whereas the summers are short but lots of sunlight. The greenhouse gasses are melting the snow in which the hares live. There are few small plants that grow along the ground such as moss. The animals here have adapted to survive in the cold temperatures such as hibernation and lots of body fat. Most of the animals have thick fur and are white in color such as the polar bear, arctic fox, and arctic wolf. The Arctic hare competes for food with the other two herbivores in this biome: the caribou and muskoxen.

Sources

Dfg.webmaster@alaska.gov. "Alaska Hare Species Profile, Alaska Department of Fish and Game." Alaska Hare Species Profile,. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May 2017.

"Arctic Biome." Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May 2017.

Betzler, Brooke. "Lepus arcticus (Arctic hare)." Animal Diversity Web. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May 2017.

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