The mountain hare

In summer it lives above the timberline, among the rocky pastures, grasslands and bushes (rhododendron, whortleberry, green alder), while in winter it comes down into the forests, where it can find more shelter and food. Its altitude limits range from 1100 to 2800 m, although it’s most frequent alpine range is situated between 1600 and 2200 m. The species is characterized by seasonal dimorphism: in winter it turns completely white, except for the tips of its ears, which are black. In summer, after the spring moult, the color is dark brown.
It has a length of 46-61 cm, with a tail of 4-6 cm, with a total weight of 1.5-2.8 kg. The hind legs are longer than the front ones, feet covered with thick hair are suitable to walk in the snow. It is mainly nocturnal and feeds on shrubs and herbs. In winter eat also the bark of young trees. It's distributed uniformously in the whole Park, in the environments suitable to the above-mentioned altitude.

The mountain hare reveals a decreasing trend of its distribution range, and this specimen are in sharp decline throughout the Alps. The Park, where the action of man as predator is minimized, represents an ideal area of study of the problems of conservation of these species. A research project on the mountain hare is currently under study.

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Photo: Andrea Roverselli