With snow now covering all of the terrain at Grouse Mountain, many of our winter wildlife inhabitants have changed colour to match the new white background.
The two that stand out the most are the Snowshoe Hair (Lepus americanus) and the Ermine or Short-tailed Weasel (Mustela erminea). We see these two quite often up here (and their tracks even more frequently!). Both of these species go through a dramatic shift in coat colour once the snow arrives.
Both turn their brown fur into a fairly stark white colour to blend in with the background of fresh snow. The decrease in temperature and short days triggers this change of coat.
The snowshoe hairs nibble on left-over foliage from the summertime and the ermines hunt small mammals and birds.
Watch for these two amazing wild animals the next time you are out snow-shoeing or skiing on Grouse Mountain!