Young Snowshoe Hares Dispersing
Snowshoe Hares have up to four litters a summer (females mate within 24 hours of giving birth). Their litters range from two to nine young (leverets), with larger litters the further north you go. Unlike cottontails, the Snowshoe Hare gives birth to precocious young – their eyes open shortly after birth, they have a dense coat of fur, and they are able to weakly move about within 30 minutes.
The female leaves the nest once she’s through giving birth, and returns once a day to nurse her young. By the fourth day, the young hares scatter from the nest. They reassemble at the same time each evening and their mother appears and nurses them for five to ten minutes. She then leaves and the young disperse. This behavior continues for about a month, until the young are fully weaned. (Thanks to Virginia Barlow and Wendell for photo op.)
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