Contact Us

Animals That Turn White in Winter

Photo courtesy of MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Bruce Auchly information officer of the Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 4 offices in Great Falls writes some interesting articles about wildlife in Big Sky Country, here’s an excerpt from his latest;

Animals that call Montana home have evolved to ride out winter in a variety of ways. Some hibernate, some constantly look for food. Some develop thick winter coats or even change color. All alter themselves.

Take the creatures that change colors. That list comprises two hares – the snowshoe hare and the white-tailed jackrabbit – and three members of the weasel family: the least weasel, as well as the long-tailed and short-tailed weasels.

In a few spots Montana has the white-tailed ptarmigan, a bird that turns pure white in winter. But today’s focus is on the more numerous mammals.

The least weasel turns entirely white, while both the long-tailed and short-tailed weasels have a black-tipped tail to go with their white winter coat. Weasels go through a complete molt. That means each hair is lost and a new white hair replaces a summer brown hair.

With hares only the tip of the hair turns white. The base remains grey, and the winter pelt is thicker offering more protection during the coldest months.

Snowshoe hares are found mostly in the coniferous forests of central and western Montana. The white-tailed jackrabbit is commonly associated with open grassland plains.

Carnivorous weasels and herbaceous hares do not have a strong predator-prey relationship, yet they are linked by the benefits of camouflage.

More From KYSS FM

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://kyssfm.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on KYSS FM quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here.

Sign up for an account to comment, share your thoughts, and earn points to get great prizes.

Register on KYSS FM quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!