The hind legs are very long and strongly
developed and give a strong impression of a miniature kangaroo. In a spotlight
the eyes shine very brightly, and springhares can be recognized by the
up-and-down movement of their eyes as they jump.
Visible Male/Female Differences
Widespread with the main requirement of sandy soils.
Does not occurs in true desert. Spring hares numbers can reach four per hectare
in favorable conditions.
A selective feeder with a
preference for freshly sprouted grass leaves, also grass, seeds, stems and bulbs.
The may become a pest in crops
Single young born (rarely twins) are produced
up to 4 times per year after a gestation of 72-82 days. Young remain in the burrow.
They are suckled until nearly fully grown at 6-7 weeks. Springhares are taken
by mammal predators, including African wild cats,
brown hyenas, lions, cheetahs and
ratels. They are also popular as human food. San
bushmen catch them by hooking them with a 4m pole with a barbed tip. The san
also mix spring hare dung with tobacco for smoking.
Behavior and Habits
Only active at night and shelters during the day in
burrows they have dug themselves. They only emerge an hour after
sunset. Burrows can be almost 50m long, with 2-11 entrances. Entrances are
filled while the spring hare is inside with an escape tunnel with the entrance
the surface. Individuals have each their own burrows. Several animals may
be seen together on good grazing. They may remain in their burrows during rain
or cold weather.
Dung and Field sign
Droppings 2 cm
long, pale coloured, grooved across the end,
flattened and square. Burrows 20-25 cm in diameter closed up with with soil during
daytime. New burrows have a crescent-shaped mound of sand at the entance. Shallow, crescent-shaped diggings for roots. Tooth
marks 8 mm across.