An arctic rabbit travels 241 miles in 49 days

The record-setting journey of a wild hare through Nunavut has been documented by Canadian researchers who were surprised by the distance traveled by the female hare. A female polar hare has traveled an astonishing 241 miles in just seven weeks, the longest known distance ever traveled by a rabbit or rabbit. The study, published last month in the journal Ecology, was designed to understand the movement of Arctic hares through arid landscapes.

I think such a small animal living under such harsh conditions averages about eight kilometers [5 miles] Every single day for seven weeks is really amazing, Joel Berger, an ecologist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins who was not involved in the study, told Science News.

Hares are a vital component of the tundra food web, and they are commonly preyed upon by everything from foxes and wolves to hawks and owls. For this reason, ecologist Dominique Berto of the University of Quebec in Rimouski wanted to learn more about hares and their movements around the deserted northern landscape.

He and his colleagues captured 25 arctic hares on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut and provided them with radio tracking collars, including a long-distance champ known as “BBYY.” Over the ensuing weeks, scientists learned that Arctic hares travel a lot, with their test subjects ranging anywhere from 70 to 192 miles during the course of the study. But nothing comes close to the 241 miles traveled by BBYY, who died about a month after her trip ended from unknown causes.

The researchers suspected that Arctic hares live in relatively small areas where food is abundant, without having to venture outside that area. They were shocked to discover that Arctic hares were much more mobile than previously thought, especially in such a harsh climate as the Arctic.

It’s exciting to find “something unexpected in an animal we thought we knew so well,” Berto told Science News.

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