PAGE 17 MAZINA’IGAN WINTER 2018-2019 • KID’S PAGE • Color changing waabooz Waabooz (snowshoe hare) have fluffy coats, long ears and really large feet.Waabooz change their coat two times a year. In niibin (sum- mer) the coat is thin and brown so it can blend into the woods. When biboon (winter) comes, it changes to a heavy snow-white, fluffy coat. The hare changes its fur to make it harder for predators to find it. The hare’s coat keeps them warm and is made of different layers. There is the silky soft fur for insulation, a medium layer of thicker hair, and then the long, coarse outer hair that sheds. Because their coat keeps them so warm they don’t have to hibernate or travel to warmer areas during the winter. Snowshoe hares live as far north as theArctic ocean and all over the northern regions of Canada. The hare’s large furry hind feet is where the name comes from. Long and wide, these feet work the way human snowshoes do, help- ing them to travel over snow. The fur on the bottom of the feet also helps keep them warm. The hare has very strong back legs and can jump almost 10 feet at a time and can run as fast as 27 miles an hour. Hares are very strong swimmers and jump into ponds and streams to get food or escape a predator. Snowshoe hares are herbivores (her-biv-ores) which mean that they eat plants and berries in the summertime. They have strong teeth, made for gnawing on tree bark, twigs and tree buds in the winter.They even eat needles from trees. Hares are larger than rabbits. While rabbits live in underground dens, the hare likes to live under bushes or roots. Hares are born with a furry coat and their eyes are open. Just hours after being born, they are ready to start hopping. (Waabooz information from Wisconsin DNR EEK! Critter Corner and www.cbc.ca/kidscbc2/explore/animals.) (See page 18 for the effects climate change is having on waabooz.) What did you learn? What is the Ojibwe word for winter? _______________________________________ Why does waabooz change color? _______________________________________ Where did the snowshoe hare get its name from? _______________________________________ What does waabooz offer to the Anishinaabe? _______________________________________ What does waabooz eat? _______________________________________ Atraditional teaching about the waabooz describes him telling Nenabozhoo (a main spirit in manyAnishinaabe legends) how hewouldhelptheAnishinaabewhentheyarrived:“‘HereIhave something too. I too have something to offer the Anishinaabe. TherabbitwaslookingatNenabozhoo.‘Whodoyou thinkyou are? Look at you and how small you are. You don’t even have much meat on you. And the rabbit said: ‘Nope, don’t think of me that way. I will sense when the Anishinaabe is struggling to find food to eat. I will not go anywhere. Whenever I see a round snare, that is where I will put my head.That is how much I care about the Anishinaabe. There are a lot more, such as my white fur jacket. Anishinaabe will know how to use my gift, like sometimes, somewhere, when they get a skin rash, such as how children suffer with that. They will use my rabbit fur, my hide. I will not be far away.All they need to do is look around, and they will find my trail; this is where they can get me.’” The snowshoe hare is brown in the summer. (©2008 Walter Siegmund, Wikimedia) Waabooz changes to white in the winter to camouflage itself from predators. (©Gordon E. Robertson, Wikimedia) Help waabooz find food at the end of the maze.