Snowshoes by Chikahiro

“Hey Lucky, ready for breakfast?”

“Yesh mama Wee-anne! Wucky hungwy!”

Kibble cascades from measuring cup to bowl. Half as much as recommended, with the remainder being a mixed of warmed up veggies and oatmeal. Its a weird combination at first glance, but the bright green stallion loves it.

I prepare a second bowl for my magenta mare named Fortune, but with vanilla whey protein mixed in. She’s nursing, so every bit of nutrition helps. The two Earthies are going on their second year, strong and healthy. Raised them by hand, so I’d hope so!

“T’ank yu, mama Wee-anne,” she says before digging in.

Not much of a wildlife biologist if I didn’t know how to handle fluffies. Especially since they’re my specialty. The microwave dings as the milk for the formula finishes warming up. A dab on my skin is a bit to warm, so I add cold milk, mix, then check again. Perfect.

Its added to a bottle, shaken with two scoops of formula plus one scoop unflavored weight gainer protein powder. Thank goodness this stuff is cheap at Wal-Mart. The state doesn’t pay badly, but frugality pays off. Or cheapness. Either way, nobody is hungry.

Well, except for the chirpies on the counter. They’re warm enough thanks to the blanket and heating pad. Lifting the top fold reveals four squirming white babies, eyes closed, squeaking and chirping something to eat.

“Babbehs hungwy!” Fortune exclaims as she takes two foals from the blanket-nest. “Mama wub babbehs, babbehs wub mama…”

“Babies drink milkies, grow big and strong,” I continue as my hand takes a mewling little filly, bringing the bottle to its mouth.

“Fank yu, mama Wee-anne.”

We continue humming with each other as the foals nurse. When my little one releases the bottle and burps I grab the next one, a tiny colt this time. He fidgets in my hand, hoofs flailing about while chirping. Tiny and warm, he grabs the nipple greedily.

“Mama Wee-anne,” Lucky starts, looking at his family. “Wai babbehs no hab pwetteh cowows?”

“White is a pretty color.”

“Babbehs pwetteh, bu’ no hab cowows wike Fowtune ow speshul fwen!”

“Well, they’re still young yet. I’m sure their colors will change,” I smile. “The fluff on their heads and tails haven’t even come in yet!”

“How are your grand-children?”

“Haha, Alan. Again, ha-ha.”

Small town living means running into co-workers outside of work on a semi-regular basis. In this case Alan while I’ve got a cart of groceries and he’s got two Redbox rentals.

“Internet out again?”

“Yep,” he lamented, Spongebob DVDs in hand.

“Oh, I got some pictures from this morning, want to see?”

“Sure, why not. Spare me from seeing Bikini Bottom again for a few minutes.”

My phone is whipped out of my purse with an Olympian’s practiced grace. Finger unlock, photo app opened, and my new brood of fluffies presented.

“They’re… white?”

“Yep,” I start. “For now.”

“For now?” he questions before it hits him. “These are Lucky and Fortune’s foals!”

“You got it!” I smile.

“How many Snowshoe fluffies do you have.”

“Just them. Their winter coats came in, too.” A quick scrolling produces pictures of the green stallion and magenta mare.

“Its like their fluff is extra garish.”

“Isn’t it great?”

“I suppose. Still can’t believe you lucked out with those two.”

“Those two who?”

Laura, Alan’s wife, peers over his shoulder.

“Got everything hon’?”

“Yep. Hey Leeane!” she smiles. “But again, lucked out?”

“Oh, Leeane’s Snowshoe fluffs.”

“These two?”

“Yep. And their foals.” I oblige in changing the photo to the white mass of cuteness. Laura blinks.

“They’re… all white? But how did those two…?”

“They’re snowshoe fluffies! During the summer their fluff is a beautiful white color, then when it turns to winter the fluff changes to these louder than normal colors.”

“That’s… not how snowshoe-ing works.”

“It sort of is.”

“Nooo,” she says, confused. “Showshoe rabbits are brown camouflaged during the summer, and turn white when winter comes.”

“Exactly!” Alan says. “I don’t know if its tied to the length of day or temperature, but… oh! Maybe the foals don’t get the necessary stimulus while in the mother’s womb?”

“Might be.”

“I’m still confused.”

“They’re fluffies,” i start. “A genetic lottery, so to speak. Snowshoe fluffies change their coats, suggesting that they ‘won’ an interesting genetics combination.”

“But, because they’re fluffies,” Alan continues. “Its not quite right. So, the order is reversed. They’ve got the worse camouflage for summer and winter.”

“Because white is easy to see when everything is green.”

“And nuclear colors are hard to miss when everything is either white or dead brown colored.”

Laura paused, pondering.

“How are they not dead?”

I wave my hand, proudly.


To be fair, fluffies’ colors are rarely even useful for camouflage anyway. Being bright yellow, for example, won’t help at either time of the year.


To be fair, in nature, garish and bright colours usually mean “I’m highly poisonous so you better look for other things to eat”


Oh damn, there must be a lot of poisonous birds then xD.


Well, and for sweet sweet mating.


Love it and such cute babies… Is the mare unable to feed them? Or just adding more nutrition via bottle feeding?

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Sounds like it’s related to colourpoint in cats, where heat deactivates the pigment. And one colourpoint breed is called… Snowshoe.

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Helping out, keeping them human socialized and used to being handled.

Yeah. I couldn’t find a page I found before that had theories on what causes the change in snowshoe hares. When I first got the idea I was going to make it function like the snowshoe, but then it crossed my mind that it would be more fun to invert it.

Siamese have that color point gene :slight_smile:

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True! The inverted snowshoe is worse in a way just because it’s almost useful except, well…

I was going to do a semi serious, “the fluffies after evolving,” story. But… “LOL evolution doesn’t get it right there first time”. Seemed more fun.

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Does evolution not get fluffies right or do fluffies not get evolution right? xD

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The hodge-podge of DNA means there’s tons of things that COULD happen. However, the amount of time it’ll take to get it right is something else. Who knows how long it took for snowshoe hares to develop that trait? And from what I understand, its not a hard one to remove, suggesting its a “fragile” trait.

Maybe if given a few tens of thousands of years maybe trait will function properly.

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