Spring Hare - Pedietes capensis

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Afrikaans Springhaas Zulu Ndulane Tswana Tsipo Shangaan Xindjengwe


Tracks
F 2cm
H 5cm

Distribution

Dung
1.5 cm
Pale colored, grooved across the end, flattened and square

Unusual features

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

None

Habitat

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.

Diet

 A selective feeder with a preference for freshly sprouted grass leaves, also grass, seeds, stems and bulbs. The may become a pest in crops

Reproduction

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, leopards, caracals, 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 just below 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.

 



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