The Cape, Common or Brown Hare [Lepus capensis
] There are twelve sub-species of the Cape Hare found throughout Africa.
The female Cape Hare is slightly larger than the male. Their mass varies from between 1.5 - 2.5 kg. The fur is pale brownish-grey
. The long ears and black-and-white tail is most obvious in flight. The Cape Hare is distinguished from the Scrub Hare by its smaller size and the absence of pure white under parts.
Depending on availability of grass or shrubs it may either graze or browse. Hares re-ingest soft faecal pellets
directly from the anus during their rest periods in the day, and excrete hard pellets during nocturnal feeding.
The Cape Hare is a non seasonal breeder, which births throughout the year, although births tend to peak during the rainy season. It gives birth to one to three leverets after a gestation period of 42 days. Young are fully furred and weigh 100 grams at birth. The eyes are open at birth
and the newly born are capable of hearing and moving around, within 48 hours of birth. Leverets are suckled by females for only ten minutes each night. Lactation is continued for a period of three weeks only. No nests are provided for litters.
The Cape Hare is solitary in habits, but oestrus females may be followed by several males for a short period. Preferred habitat is open arid terrain
. It occurs in short, open grasslands of its distribution range.
Where they are found
The Cape Hare is widespread and abundant in the more arid regions of South Africa, also occurring in Botswana
and the central districts of Namibia.