|Item No.||Vørunavn||Eind||Mynd||Prísur v/MVG|
Four snow hares from Kragerøen in the
Issue Date: 4/18/2005
Item No.: PPA991819
in woods and on moors, and the female, called the doe, leaves her leverets
hiding in hollows called forms between stones and rocks, while she searches for
food. The Faroese “snow hare” (Lepus
timidus) becomes greyish white in winter nowadays, and not snow white, like
its ancestors who were introduced into the Faroes in 1855. The hares of today
are “blue hares” like those in
original Canadian polar hare (Lepus
arcticus) is found in
turn completely white in the winter, but there are two varieties of snow hares.
On the Faroes, in
widespread in northern countries, but there are no hares in
hares from Kragerøen in the
Breeding tests with snow hares and blue hares have revealed that genetically, the white winter coat is always dominant. Kragerøen in particular is a borderline area with snow hares high up on the cliffs and blue hares lower down. If just one of the original four hares had carried the blue hare genes, the result would not be seen before the third generation at the earliest. But then the blue hares had all the advantages on the Faroes in the mild Atlantic winters.
Blue hares on the Faroes drop leverets three times a year, but it is by no means certain that the leverets from all three litters will survive. Snow hares on the other hand only have two litters, and their coats turn white relatively early in the autumn, while the blue hare’s winter coat appears later. Where the snow does not often lie for long, a snow hare cannot hide as easily from hunters as a blue hare.
When snow hares were moved to an area with a coastal climate, the advantages of the white winter coat became disadvantages. This was why only 60 years passed before the dominant snow hares were completely exterminated and replaced by animals with the recessive blue hare genes. It is simply a textbook example of natural selection and adaptation to the environment.
Polar hares and snow hares live in the woods where they can – or on heather-covered moors close to the snow line. The hares feed on various plants, grasses and sedges, (Carex), roots and ferns, supplementing them with leaf and flower shoots from bushes and trees. Polar hares and snow hares are most active at dusk, but in the mating season the bucks can be seen pursuing the does in broad daylight as well.
are pregnant for about seven weeks. Polar hares and the snow hares with
completely white winter coats that live farthest north only breed once a year.
Further south they have two litters a year, while the blue hares drop three
litters a year consisting of two or three leverets each. All the same, the
weather conditions are seldom so favourable that all the leverets survive.
Polar hares in
and snow hares are hunted for their delicious meat. It has been estimated that
the population of hares on the Faroes was at least five thousand in 1997.
However, it is very difficult to obtain accurate figures for the number of
hares shot on the Faroes each year, because this is the only country in