Friday, July 28, 2006

Snowshoe Hare - Bunny Mystery Solved

Well, I suppose it wasn't really a mystery...but it turns out there's a good reason why we have seen more bunnies here this year than any in the last 10 - 12 years - they're going through a population explosion here in the Maritimes and elsewhere. Apparently, it is cyclic, occurring once every ten years or so, then the population decreases again. They had pics on the news, and so I was able to identify the little guy that comes by and eats weeds out of our lawn almost every evening (he's SO CUTE!) - he's not actually a rabbit, but a Snowshoe Hare. I think I'll still call him a bunny, though! That'd explain why the bunny feetprints in the snow last winter were so big - they're named after their big feet, after all!

From Hinterland: Who's Who (an organization that made extremely memorable commercials back in the 1970s with a vivid, haunting theme, educating the public about some of Canada's unique animals - everybody who was around then remembers them!):

"Snowshoe hares are very active between sundown and dawn, and they remain active all winter. Rain, snow, or wind often markedly reduce the hares'’ activity." We have certainly noticed this to be true of our little guy - we never see him when it's inclement weather outside, and he's always active from dusk to dawn (some nights when I'm going to sleep, I look out the window and see him there having a snack). :)

To learn more about our adorable hare (and tons of other animals that make Canada their home), check out Hinterland's Who's Who. They still make commercials, but not as cool as the ones back in the '70s. :D