Springhare

SpringhareSpringhare — The Springhare (Pedetes capensis), or Springhaas, is not actually a hare, but a member of the order Rodentia; it is the only species in its family Pedetidae and in the genus Pedetes.

The Springhare resembles a small kangaroo (though unrelated) with well-developed hind legs, which allows it to leap over 2 meters in a single bound. It is for this ability which it gets its name. This animal grows to be around 35–45 cm in length excluding its long tail, and weighs an average of 3 kg. The tail adds to another 36–47 cm in length. The colour of this mammal varies from a reddish-brown to a pale grey, with a black tip on the tail. The Springhare lives only in south-eastern Africa, feeding on plant matter and even occasionally insects. They have four toes on their hind feet with claws that look like small hoofs; these are wider than those found on the forefeet. They have a thick muscular neck supporting their short head. They also have large eyes, and their ears have a tragus that prevents sand from entering when they are digging.

Springhares are mostly nocturnal but are occasionally active in the day. During the daytime, they live in tunnels that they dig. They plug the entrance of the hole with soil from the inside of the tunnel. It is easier for them to dig during the rainy season when the soil is wet. Sometimes they leap out of their burrows when they come out at night. The Springhare jumps like a kangaroo on its hind legs, retreating to its burrow when frightened.

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