Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snowshoe Hare

Snowshoe hares live in forests and prefer thick brushy undergrowth. They are primarily a northen species that inhabits boreal forests all the way up to the shores of the Arctic Ocean. Hares are a little bigger than rabbits and have taller hind legs and longer ears. Snowshoe hares have especially large, furry feet that help them to move atop snow in the winter. Their snow-white winter coat turns brown when the snow melts each spring. Snowshoe hares are nimble and fast, which comes in handy when they are being preyed upon by lynx, fox, coyote, and even birds of prey.

To learn more about snowshoe hares, visit

- photo from National Geographic

Friday, December 19, 2008

Lynx, the "Snowshoe" Cat

The lynx is any of four medium-sized wild cats. The cat is characterized by its long ear tufts and short (bobbed) tail with a black tip. It has unusually large paws that act as snow shoes in very deep snow and its thick fur and long legs make it appear larger than it really is. Lynx live 10-15 years and eat mainly snowshoe hares, but they also eat mice, red squirrels and other small mammals. Generally solitary animals, lynx hunt and travel alone, and are more active at night.

The lynx is endangered, and is protected from all hunting in the U.S., except in Alaska.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Animals In The Snow

Today starts The Jungle Store's series "Animals in the Snow". Now that winter is in full swing and the snow is here (at least it is in the Midwest), we'll be taking a look into the lives of the critters who tough out the worst winter weather with the help of Mother Nature.

During the winter, an extra layer of fur or feathers grows on the paws or feet of some animals, such as the lynx, hare, ptarmigan, snowy owl, and grouse. This helps even out the animal's weight so it will keep from sinking in the snow. And that's just one example of how animals survive the coldest months. Come back to learn about the lynx, the "snowshoe cat", tomorrow!