Hopping Ahead of Climate Change: Snowshoe Hares, Science, and Survival
by Sneed Collard
Bucking Horse Books (November 1, 2016)
Nonfiction * Environment
Audience: Grades 3 to 6
Indiebound | WorldCat
Hopping Ahead of Climate Change: Snowshoe Hares, Science, and Survival takes a look at the impact our warming planet is having on snowshoe hares. Every winter, snowshoe hares change their coat color to white. This helps them blend in with snow. Unfortunately, shorter winters are leaving many hares “mismatched.” With less snow, their white fur stands out against the brown forest floor, making them more likely to get eaten by a predator.
I loved doing the research for Hopping Ahead of Climate Change. For this book, I got to interview scientists, read about animals, and go out with Professor Scott Mills to catch snowshoe hares. As always, though, when writing the book, I had to leave out 90% of the information I gathered. Why? One reason is that longer books cost more money to manufacture. Another is that not all of what I learned related directly to my main topic. Last, I wanted to keep the book as interesting as possible so that you, the readers, wouldn’t start yawning and drooling all over the pages!
Still, some cool information always gets left on the cutting room floor. But now, thanks to Kid Lit Frenzy, for the first time ever I am pleased to give you TEN HAREY FACTS that you won’t find in Hopping Ahead of Climate Change—or any other book. They are things that I learned while writing the book, but just didn’t quite make it into the final draft. Enjoy!
Harey Fact #10:
A jackrabbit is actually a kind of hare!
Harey Fact #9:
For a small animal, hares need a lot of space to live in. In his work, Scott usually finds only .5 to 2 hares per hectare. Can you figure out how many hares that per acre?
Harey Fact #8:
Scott and his team named one of their favorite hare study areas “The Milk Shake.” That’s because it was close to a great milk shake place in the nearby town of Seeley Lake. Mmmmm… milk shakes…
Harey Fact #7:
Have you ever wondered why science museums collect and store millions of dead animal specimens? Scott’s work provides the answer: because future scientists might need them one day! Old museum specimens are helping Scott and his team in at least two ways—telling them how early or late coat colors changed in the past, and if the animals genes have changed in the last century or so.
Harey Fact #6:
When I first started talking to Scott, he was about to spend a year in Bhutan, at the foot of the Himalaya Mountains. There, Scott expected to find coat-color-changing animals, but guess what? There weren’t any! That’s startling in one of the world’s highest and snowiest regions, but it shows the importance of having scientists to actually look at places instead of just assuming what the world is like.
Harey Fact #5:
Besides finding hares in their traps, Scott and his team have caught marten, grouse, wood rats, and gray jays. More than anything else, though, they catch skunks! It takes real skill to get a skunk out of a trap without getting sprayed!
Harey Fact #4:
Scott measures the health of a hare by the ratio of its weight to the length of its hind foot. The length of the hind foot gives Scott an idea of how old the hare is. Its weight tells him how healthy it is for that age. Which do you think survives better—heavier or lighter hares? (Answer at the bottom.)
Harey Fact #3:
Scott’s team has given names to some of the hares they keep in captivity. These include Harry Houdini, Buns, Nibbler, and my favorite, David Hopperfield.
Harey Fact #2:
As a college student, Scott wanted to be a wildlife veterinarian. After spending a summer working with mountain goats in Olympic National Park, he decided to become a wildlife biologist. He got his PhD at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
And now for…(drum roll and hares thumping)…
Harey Fact #1:
During his career studying hares, Scott Mills and his crew have caught and tagged more than 10,000 hares!
Answer to Fact #4: heavier hares.
About the author:
Sneed B. Collard III is the author of the award-winning books Fire Birds—Valuing Natural Wildfires and Burned Forests; Double Eagle; Shep—Our Most Loyal Dog; Dog Sense; Pocket Babies and Other Amazing Marsupials; and The Prairie Builders—Reconstructing America’s Lost Grasslands, winner of the AAAS/Subaru/Science Books & Films Prize for Excellence in Science Books. Sneed has evolved through several life-history stages on his way to becoming one of today’s leading children’s authors. His first book, Sea Snakes, was published in 1993. His seventy-fifth (or so) book, his memoir Snakes, Alligators, and Broken Hearts—Journeys of a Biologist’s Son, was released in Fall, 2015. In 2006, Sneed was the recipient of the Washington Post Children’s Book Guild Children’s Nonfiction Writer of the Year Award for his body of work.
Thank you Sneed for stopping by Kid Lit Frenzy and sharing great facts about hares and your new book.
Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews: