What Do Arctic Hares Eat?

Arctic hares can eat several foods (mosses, lichens, berries, buds, roots etc.), they find in their habitat, depending on the season. From birth, they must first depend on their mother to provide the food they eat. When arctic hares can survive on their own, they feed on leaves and shrubs which grow around them.

In most cases, they also feed on dead animal flesh. Here’s everything you need to know on the various diets of an arctic hare at various stages of its life.

What Do Baby Arctic Hares Eat?

Baby arctic hares feed on the food their mother provides because of their inability to support themselves. These foods could be leaves of shrubs found around them or even the roots of plants.

I read that after six to seven weeks of feeding off their mother, they can begin to source their own foods, like adult arctic hares. So at this point, they can be said to be grown and mature enough.

What Do Adult Arctic Hares Eat?

Adult arctic hares are classified as folivores and consume majorly plants that survive in their habitats. However, they still combine their meals with other sources of food.

They feed on mosses, lichens, and other woody plants mainly because of their many nutritional benefits. On some occasions, they enjoy the tasty goodness of berries and roots of other plants, depending on the season.

Also Read: Amazing Fun Facts about an Arctic Hare!


Mosses are very nutritious to arctic hares. They provide fiber and carbs, essential for providing the energy they need to survive. There is little wonder why they feed on them so much.

Mosses also offers antioxidants, which are very important in scavenging dangerous compounds.

They also offer UV radiation, which can positively affect the hare’s immune system. Numerous moss types also offer vital minerals and nutrients for the hares’ survival and growth.

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Arctic hares can use the vital elements such as minerals and amino acids that Lichens provide. The nutrient-dense food supply they provide the hares with is essential since they are low in calories and have high fiber content.

Lichens also contain important fatty acids and vitamins for energy conservation.


Arctic hares eat a lot of berries. Berries possess the vitamins, fiber, and other nourishment that arctic hares require. Berries may also provide many antioxidants, which help hares stay healthy.


The buds are a significant food source for adult arctic hares. Due to their high water content, the buds serve as an excellent water source for these animals.

The buds’ nutrients, vitamins, and other essential components maintain the arctic hares’ health.


The dietary supplement of roots cannot be overemphasized! Their several advantages include the supply of antioxidants and vital vitamins. They help to strengthen body parts. They also offer minerals and essential plant-based proteins.

When consumed, they encourage healthy growth in the hare, proper body development, and reproduction. Roots also make the hares highly resistant to illness.

During harsh conditions, arctic hares feed on the insides of dead animals for survival. A major advantage of feeding on dead animals is its aid for continued existence.

Also Read: How Arctic Hares Adapt the Cold and Harsh Conditions?

How Much Food Artic Hares Need per Day?

Many researchers said that Arctic hares have a rather high calorie and protein demand. However, their exact nutritional requirements are unknown. Since they are primarily herbivores, they greatly depend on grasses and shrubs for food in normal conditions.

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In the hot summer, they feed on the grasses that survive and become predators of insects. The flora that grows abundantly in the Tundra summer also becomes a major food source. They provide for their high demand for calories and proteins.

In the winter, since arctic hares try to stay warm deep within their burrows, they cannot keep food and thus must feed regularly. They feed on snow to provide the required water up until the next season.

What Do Arctic Hares Eat In The Summer?

An arctic hares diet in the summer is a range of fruits and vegetables. They also easily access tree barks, roots, berries, leaves, and tree buds in the summertime. As the months become hotter, they eat these foods to gain energy and remain healthy.

Also, the stems and roots of the plants they eat provide the water the hares consume.

What Do Arctic Hares Eat In The Winter?

Mosses, lichens, and woody plants make up the hare’s diet in the summer because of the short food supply. However, they can be difficult to find because they are buried deep under the snow.

To access them, the hares must dig them out using their feet and keen smell. They also consume the insides of dead animal prey to survive the long winter months.

Do Arctic Hare Eat Snow?

Yes, arctic hares eat snow to get energy and water during winter. In the winter, when they are buried in caves, they eat the snow to survive the cold. It helps them to tolerate the cold weather and gives them food options when others are not accessible.

Is The Arctic Hare An Herbivore Or Carnivore?

The Arctic hare is a folivore, which is a type of herbivore. All year long, arctic hares consume primarily woody plants, with arctic willow accounting for 95% of their diet. They consume various plants, including flowers, lichens, and mosses. In addition, they consume macroalgae, mountain sorrel, and other species’ leaves, twigs, and roots (seaweed).

See also  Amazing Fun Facts about an Arctic Hare!

Also Read: Where Does The Arctic Hare Live?

Is An Arctic Hare A Predator Or Prey?

Since it has to move rapidly and nimbly to evade predators, the arctic hare is a species of the prey animal. I think the arctic hare is not a predator since it has no teeth or claws.

The arctic hare is a prey species, not a hunter of other creatures. An arctic hare needs to locate food for itself; it does not need to forage for other animals. Additionally, you will never see the arctic hare attacking any other large creatures for food or any other reason.


The Arctic Hare  mostly consume grasses and other green vegetation in the spring, summer, and fall. They consume willow and plants that mimic willow throughout the winter. Even though arctic hares consume the insides of deceased animals, they are naturally herbivores.

The tundra areas of North America are home to Arctic hares. I think this is because they have several adaptations (underline will be backlinks to your next topic “How do Arctic Hare adapt”) that allow them to withstand the extreme cold in the area.

The Arctic hare lives for around five years in its habitat, although they can live longer if provided appropriate nourishment. In the winter, the arctic hare eats snow to be warm and for sustenance. Additionally, the Arctic hare has an acute sense of smell, which helps it find food even in harsh winter conditions.

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