Springhares (Pedetes capensis) are a genus of rodents, belonging to the family of Pedetidae. These small animals are found in eastern and southern parts of Africa. They are also known as 'mini-kangaroos' as they have strong hind legs like a kangaroo which help them cross a huge distance in one jump. They share some physical characteristics with a rabbit, but are actually not hares despite their name. This genus has two types of species which are the South African spring hare and the East African spring hare.
In the recent years, these rodents have faced massive habitat loss in Africa and have also been hunted. With the expansion of human settlements and agricultural lands, their habitat is slowly being encroached upon by humans. Therefore, sometimes the hares raid agricultural crops and eat whatever crops they can find. As a result, they are treated as pests and are shot or hunted by farmers to protect their crops. In addition to that, they are also hunted and eaten in South Africa. Keep reading for more interesting facts about the spring hare!
If you liked this article with amazing facts about the springhare (Pedetes capensis), also check out our articles about the swamp rabbit and the hare.
What do they prey on?
What do they eat?
Average litter size?
How much do they weigh?
6-9 lb (2.7-4 kg)
How long are they?
13-18 in (33-45.7 cm)
How tall are they?
11 in (28 cm)
What do they look like?
Light brown and dark brown
What are their main threats?
Predators like jackals and caracals
What is their conservation status?
Pedetes capensis: Least Concern Pedetes surdaster: Least Concern
Where you'll find them
Pedetes capensis Pedetes surdaster
Spring Hare Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a spring hare?
A spring hare is a type of a rodent.
What class of animal does a spring hare belong to?
The South African spring hare (Pedetes capensis) and East African spring hare (Pedetes surdaster) belong to the Mammalia class of animal.
How many spring hares are there in the world?
The exact population of the two types of spring hares has not been calculated by scientists and researchers yet.
Where does a spring hare live?
The spring hare is endemic or indigenous to the continent of Africa, especially the southern and eastern parts of it. The geographical distribution of this animal extends from the countries of Congo, Angola, Zimbabwe, and Zambia to Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa.
What is a spring hare's habitat?
The spring hare is usually found in dry savanna, arid scrub areas or grasslands, which are seen in East and South Africa. The spring hare distribution is highest in areas with soft, sandy soil that they can dig in to make a burrow for shelter.
Who do springhares live with?
Spring hares are mostly social animals, but can also live in a solitary fashion in the wild. They are seen to live in small communities with three to four shared burrows. They dig a burrow in the sandy soil near the largest tree in a triangular or circular shape. Up to 40 spring hares can live within one home range and each family lives in a small burrow.
How long does a spring hare live?
The springhare is found to live for eight to 14 years in captivity. The range of their lifespan in the wild has not been recorded yet.
How do they reproduce?
The spring hare is a non-seasonal breeder and starts to reproduce when it reaches sexual maturity and weighs around 5.5 lb (2.5 kg) depending on their habitat. A female spring hare has a gestation period of 78-82 days before giving birth to a litter of usually one young pup in burrows, around three to four times per year.
The young are born with fur and can move around almost immediately after birth. The young feed on their mother's milk until they are seven weeks of age. Young springhares attain sexual maturity at eight months.
What is their conservation status?
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the South African springhare (Pedetes capensis) and the East African springhare (Pedetes surdaster) as of Least Concern. However, there are doubts about the actual conservation status of this animal and their exact population because these animals are actively hunted for food and are considered as pests in the areas they inhabit.
Spring Hare Fun Facts
What do spring hares look like?
Springhares have rabbit like features with long ears and a small, pointed head. Their head and upper body is yellow-brown, reddish brown and dark brown in color with black or gray edges. The underparts of their body are orange-white in color. They have small fore legs and large hind feet. Their body has a bushy, long tail with a dark colored tip. This species has large eyes on its head and unique flaps on their ears to keep the sand out. They have sharp claws on their forefeet which helps them in digging burrows.
How cute are they?
Springhares are not conventionally cute, but with their tendency of sitting on their hind legs, their long ears, and tail they look strangely cute.
How do they communicate?
Not much is known about how the springhare species communicate within each other, but we know that they have an advanced sense of sight, smell, and hearing. Their body also has large hind feet which help them in detecting any vibration on the sandy ground and help protect them from predators.
How big is a spring hare?
The average size or length of a spring hare is 13-18 in (33-45.7 cm). The tail on their body is usually 14-18 in (35.5-45.7 cm) in length. When they sit on their hind legs, the spring hare generally records a height of 11 in (28 cm) at their shoulder.
The brown bear is 10 times the size of a spring hare, as it records a height of 9.8 ft (3 m) when it sits on its hind feet.
How fast can a spring hare run?
Not much is known about the speed of spring hares when they run, but they are known for their large jumps. These animals usually move on their forelegs and hind legs but they hop or jump when they are scared or startled like a kangaroo. They use their hind legs to jump to a distance of 20-30 ft (6-9.1 m)!
How much does a spring hare weigh?
The average weight of spring hares is approximately 6-9 lb (2.7-4 kg).
What are the male and female names of the species?
The male springhare rodent is known as a buck or a jack, while the female springhare is called a doe or a jill.
What would you call a baby spring hare ?
A baby or a young spring hare is usually referred to as a leveret.
What do they eat?
Spring hares have a herbivorous diet and they sit on their hind feet and tail while eating their food. They eat seeds, leaves, corns, stems, grass roots, tubers, rhizomes, and green grass as food. They prefer a diet with food items which are rich in protein and water.
Are they dangerous?
The springhare is not dangerous at all. However, they face danger from other animals as they are hunted by a variety of African predators like wild cats, caracals, jackals, and eagles.
Would they make a good pet?
The springhare would not make a very good pet as it mostly thrives in a wild habitat. It mostly lives in burrows and tunnels and would need a huge space to freely roam and jump around in.
Did you know...
Spring hares do not actually drink water but obtain it from the dew, rain, or moisture which is present in plants.
The fur coat of this animal can be seen to glow a fluorescent color if they are placed under black light.
The spring hare is the only mammal which has a septum in its lower trachea. This feature is usually exclusively found in birds.
How many times does a female spring hare give birth in a year?
The females of this species can only reproduce after attaining sexual maturity. After a gestation period of two to three months, they give birth to one young pup around three times per year.
Are spring hares nocturnal?
Spring hares are nocturnal rodents like kangaroo rats. However, they are found to be occasionally active during daytime too. They stay in the tunnels where their burrows are situated. They are the most active at night and are found grazing and foraging within their home range. They may also be seen going to drink at their nearest water source.
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