2 – Coming up with the organism

When I first thought about my animal, my thoughts immediately drifted to furry white animals such as arctic foxes and hares. These are the general stereotypes of arctic tundra animals, however they are prime examples of adapting to the cold environment. Arctic foxes, for example, have thick fur to minimise the escape of body heat and a compact body shape to retain body heat as well.

Thus I decided to base my first draft of the organism on one of these “stereotypes”, the arctic hare.

–> I also incorporated some features from my brainstorming session. This will give me a headstart. 🙂

Research:

(Source: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/arctic-hare/)

The arctic hare lives in the harsh environment of the North American tundra.

*Note: Hares are a bit larger than rabbits, and they typically have taller hind legs and longer ears

Diet

  • Winter –  woody plants, mosses, and lichens –> dig through the snow to find
  • Other seasons – buds, berries, leaves, roots, and bark

Surviving the low temperatures

  • These hares do not hibernate
  • They sport thick fur
  • Have a low surface area to volume ratio that conserves body heat -> shortened ears
  • dig shelters in snow and huddle together to share warmth -> conserves body heat

Survival from predators

  • They are fast and can bound at speeds of up to 40 miles (60 kilometers) an hour
  • Camouflage:
  1. In winter, they sport a brilliant white coat –> same as snow
  2. In spring, the hare’s colors change to blue-gray –> same as local rocks and vegetation

Mating

  • Arctic hare groups disperse rather than form during mating season.
  • They pair off and define mating territories –> a male may take more than one female partner.
  1. Females give birth to one litter per year, in spring or early summer.
  2. Two to eight young hares grow quickly and by September resemble their parents. They will be ready to breed the following year.

Organism

Sketch of organism (ignore the poop :D)

<Name undecided>

Size: 50-67cm tall (from feet to ears, when crouching), length undecided

Diet: Winter – digs for woody plants under the snow, Summer – feeds on (producer), berries, non-woody plants

Habitat: Winter – digs burrows under the snow, Summer – (undecided)

Life cycle:

Young are born in early spring, reach maturity by the next year (next spring)

Gives birth to about 4 young each year

Lifespan: 3-4 years

Features:

Bio PT organism (hare)

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