Snowshoe Hare

The larger snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) inhabits northern New England and New York. In New Hampshire, they are most common in the northern three counties. Snowshoe hare have large hind feet, and their toes spread out like a "snowshoe", enabling them to hop about in deep snow.

Despite their brown color during the warmer months, the snowshoe hare's fur turns white in winter so that it blends into the snow-covered landscape. (This is unlike the fur of cottontail rabbits that stays brown year-round.) Snowshoe hare are also much larger than our both eastern cottontail and New England cottontail, with a larger body, longer ears, and larger feet.

Unlike our cottontail rabbit species that prefer the cover of hardwood/deciduous shrubs and young trees, snowshoe hare rely on dense conifer/softwood cover. Lowland spruce-fir forests with dense softwood understories and a mix of hardwoods are ideal habitat. In southern New Hampshire, they occupy old fields interspersed with pine juniper, spirea, and hardwoods. Snowshoe hare avoid open areas.