Tay Meadows Tidbit – Unlucky rabbit’s foot

Snowshoe Hare foot

Or, rather, an unlucky hare’s foot. I found this out on a rock crown in the middle of a small barrens patch, apparently disassociated from whatever other remains might have been left of its original owner. It wasn’t all that much smaller than Raven’s foot, and there’s only one white animal around here with paws that large: the Snowshoe Hare. You can see the top of the foot is partly brown. This is actually the colour of the fur, it’s not stained from blood or mud. The hares change colour, from brown to white in September/October, and from white to brown in March/April. They would be partway through their colour change about now. They’re still white enough to stand out against the now-bare ground; I flushed one the other day, and while all I saw was a streak as it dashed off into the cedar brush, it was still white enough to be unmistakable. Their feet, especially the hind ones, may retain some white all year, though, so it could even have been from last summer. Given the ability of the relatively flesh-less feet to resist decay (a beneficial quality in something used as a good-luck charm), it’s hard to say if this is recent or if it’s been under the snow for a while.

Look at those nails in the top photo. Although hares don’t generally dig burrows, they will sometimes excavate scrapes in the ground in their favoured resting spot, and the nails may help in loosening up hard earth. They might also be used in the winter, digging through snow for food, though most of their winter diet consists of buds and twigs from coniferous trees. Of course, they would also be useful in protection or fighting. The underside (below) is thickly furred, which helps to make the feet more snowshoe-like in the winter. Probably keeps them nice and warm, too.

I suspect coyotes to be the hare’s doers-in, if only because we have a local pack that’s spent the winter howling about our neighbourhood. Fox, Great Horned Owl and Northern Goshawk are also regular predators of hares.

And no, I didn’t bring it home for good luck. That’s rabbit feet you’re thinking of.

Snowshoe Hare foot


Author: Seabrooke

Author of Peterson Field Guide to Moths. #WriteOnCon Mastermind. Writer of action/thriller SF/F YA. Story junkie. Nature nut. Tea addict. Mother. Finding happiness in the little things. Twitter: @SeabrookeN / @SeabrookeLeckie

7 thoughts on “Tay Meadows Tidbit – Unlucky rabbit’s foot”

  1. Could the rest of the hare have escaped? In that way it would be lucky. Kinda.
    (Btw, I took your advice. Yesterday I posted a yardwork photo essay which includes pix of the two bird houses I hung up this weekend.)

  2. I still puzzle over the 2 (count’em,2,) headless snowshoe hares I found deep in the woods years ago.
    Oddly, I haven’t found many feet.

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