Requiring cold climates, the Snowshoe Hare is much more likely to be seen in Zion than in Bryce Canyon National Park. Named after his remarkable feet, the snowshoe hare is able to walk on top of the snow. While the Jackrabbit used his great, broad ears as a means of dispersing his body heat into the air to stay alive in extreme heat, the Snowshoe Hare uses his great, broad feet as a means of walking and running on the surface of the snow and thus escape predators, forage, and survive in extremely snowy climates.
Also called the “Varying Hare’, the Snowshoe Hare changes color each year from brown in the summer to pure white in the winter. This, of course, is his camouflage to keep from being spotted by predators such as lynx, bobcats, weasels, martens, fishers, minks, coyotes, wolves, Mountain Lions, owls, eagles and hawks. Due to his snowy white coat, the Snowshoe Hare is a prized specimen to the hunters and trappers during the winter.
Due to his love of the cold weather, the Snowshoe Hare is much more likely (though still rather rarely)to be spotted in Bryce Canyon National Park than in Zion. The prefer a densely wooded and even shrubby climate such as is common in Utah;s higher elevations where scrub oak is common and thick. Their love for extremely dense vegetation as a home is one of the reasons the Snowshoe Hare is not nearly as easy to find as the Jackrabbit. Out here at Rising K Ranch, I can recall only one time I have ever seen a Snowshoe Hare. It was during the winter when I was around 16 years old, and I was only riding a horse of my own as the horseback trail ride had not yet even been conceived as an idea. The Snowshoe Hare is active all year ‘round. In the warm months, he lives on whatever green feed he pleases, having at his disposal an abundance of grasses, leaves, and even raspberries in some areas! In the winter, however, his diet consists of whatever he can find, even if it is only pine needles, twigs, tree bark, and sometimes even meat scavenged off of dead animals. What a relief spring must be to the Snowshoe Hare!