Arctic hare

Lepus arcticus

Fascinating Facts

  • Arctic hares can run up to 40 mph!
  • They only sport their thick white coat in winter; in the summer their hair is thinner and blue-grey to match rocks and vegetation.
  • They are an important element of Native American tradition, serving as a source of food and fur in the harsh winter.
  • Predators include arctic foxes, polar bears, lynxes, wolves, and snowy owls.
  • They huddle together in groups of up to 200 individuals for warmth.
  • They are one of the largest living lagomorphs, at up to 30 inches and 15 pounds.


Arctic tundra, surviving on woody plants, mosses, and lichens dug up from under the snow in winter. In other seasons they eat buds, berries, leaves, roots, and bark.

Status in the Wild

Least Concern – IUCN 2008


Northern region of the Arctic Circle, predominantly in Canada, Europe, Greenland, and the North Pole.

Location in the Zoo

Mammals Zone of the Sculpture Learning Plaza

Animals & Exhibits