Snowshoe Hares and Their Drinking Behavior (What, Where & How Do They Drink?)

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Published on February 18, 2023
Last Updated on October 11, 2023

Snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus) are fascinating creatures who mainly live in forests. They are found in the northern parts of the United States and throughout Canada.

These floofy animals are herbivores. Their diet mainly consists of various plants found in their habitat. But what about their water? How do they keep themselves hydrated?

Let us find out more about the snowshoe hare’s drinking behavior here in Floofmania. Let’s go!

How Do Snowshoe Hares Get Hydrated?

Snowshoe hare sitting in tall grass and looking towards the viewer.

Like most animals, snowshoe hares need to hydrate themselves. These fellas stay hydrated by drinking water and eating food with water content

Fun Fact: In the early 1900s it was thought that adult snowshoe hares did not drink anything at all!

Do Snowshoe Hares Need To Drink A Lot?

Snowshoe hares who are in the care of humans tend to drink water frequently, especially those who are pregnant so, it is safe to say that they need to drink a lot.

In addition to that, baby snowshoe hares, called leverets, drink large amounts of milk from their mothers for about a month. This serves as their main source of needed nutrition but they also already eat plants at this stage. Amazing!

Take a look at this mother snowshoe hare nursing its cute babies at night.

How Often Do Snowshoe Hares Drink?

Snowshoe hares in human care drink frequently. It is likely that those who live in the wild also drink as often. 

In addition, leverets are nursed by their mothers during the night. This is when the babies drink milk for nutrition and hydration. 

Do Snowshoe Hares Get Hydrated Through Their Food?

Yes. Snowshoe hares get hydrated through their food which mostly consists of vegetation. How cool is that?

A study conducted in Canada revealed that snowshoe hares choose what they eat depending on the nutrients of the food. They found that water is one of the most common contents of food that these fluffy animals consume.

Here’s a list of common content found in snowshoe horn food:

  • Water
  • Fiber
  • Protein
  • Energy 

Their favorite meals in the summer are succulents. In the winter, they use their strong incisors to chew on buds, twigs, and tree bark. It has also been discovered that snowshoe hares, being opportunistic carnivores, eat meat from carcasses. 

Check out this video.

Where Do Snowshoe Hares Find Water?

Snowshoe hare jumping over water.

In the wild, snowshoe hares find water to drink in bodies of water found in their forest habitats. These are sources of fresh water like rivers, lakes, streams, or creeks.

Fun Fact: Snowshoe hares are good swimmers.

Can Snowshoe Hares Drink Spoiled, Pool Water, or Salt Water?

It is likely that like most animals, it is not safe for snowshoe hares to drink spoiled water and pool water. Both of these are contaminated with harmful bacteria. Moreover, pool water contains chemical disinfectants that can cause harm to our little friends. 

We also think that drinking salt water can be harmful to the snowshoe hare. Their stomachs might not be used to this type of water because they do not usually live near the sea. The bodies of water found in their natural habitat contain fresh water. This means that their stomachs might not be able to tolerate salt water and drinking excessive amounts can cause dehydration.

Can Snowshoe Hares Drink Anything Other Than Normal Water?

Adult snowshoe hares can only drink normal water. As they are wild animals, they might not be accustomed to anything else that is not naturally occurring in their environment. However, as previously mentioned, their babies drink milk from their mothers.

In addition, leverets in human care can drink evaporated milk. But giving them other types of milk like cow’s milk can lead to weight loss and other serious damage to their health. So, if you happen to take care of an orphaned leveret, be careful about what you feed them.

How Long Can Snowshoe Hares Go Without Water?

It is probable that like their rabbit relatives, snowshoe hares cannot survive 24 hours without water, and even shorter during hot temperatures. They will be extremely dehydrated and become unwell.

Dehydration is very dangerous. Without water in an animal’s system, various organs and body systems will start to deteriorate. If that happens, the body will not be able to function well and cause the animal’s illness. No one wants that to happen right?

Is It Good To Leave Out Water For A Wild Snowshoe Hare?

Even though this might seem like a good idea, it is not advisable to leave out water for wild animals like the snowshoe hare. Doing so can cause more harm than good to both you and the animal. 

First, scary bacteria can grow in the water you leave out. Stagnant water is more likely to grow bacteria and viruses which can cause harmful diseases to animals. It might be safer for them to find running water sources like streams to drink from.

Creating an artificial source of water for wild animals can also cause aggression between them. As water is also an important resource for them, territorial fights can happen more often. This can lead to injuries and injuries can lead to nasty infections.

However, during extreme situations like droughts or cold winters where water can be scarce, leaving out water can be of help. Just make sure that the container you will be using is clean and that the water is always fresh.

Author: Jomvie Reyes

Jomvie has been a writer for over 10 years and animals and wildlife are among his favorite topics. Learning and writing about the vast and diverse wildlife from all over the world, is more of a hobby than a job for him. Jomvie loves to watch and observe these remarkable species up close and personal.

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    by
  • Jomvie Reyes
    (Author)

    Jomvie has been a writer for over 10 years and animals and wildlife are among his favorite topics. Learning and writing about the vast and diverse wildlife from all over the world, is more of a hobby than a job for him. Jomvie loves to watch and observe these remarkable species up close and personal.

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