In winter, the fur of the Arctic hare is bright white, except for black tips on the ears. The white pelage blends perfectly with a snowy background. This security of camouflage probably accounts for their well-known lack of fear at this time of year, when they are often so tame that they can be approached very closely.
In mid-summer, when their camouflage is not as effective, Arctic hares are wary and difficult to approach. In the High Arctic, where summers are short (six to eight weeks), a sandy brown or grey wash appears on the nose, forehead and ears, and occasionally on the back. The predominant colour, however, remains the snowy white of winter, which makes High-Arctic Arctic hares starkly visible against a snow-free background and therefore more vulnerable to predators. In the more southern reaches of their range (including Baffin Island, Nunavut), where the summer is somewhat longer, the white coat changes to brown with blue-grey tones, while the tail and parts of the ears and legs remain white.
Young are born in June with mottled grey-brown fur. Their fur blends so well with the colours of the tundra that they are very difficult to see. By September, young are almost as white as adults but they retain a brown topknot.
Canadian Museum of Nature