Scrub Hare

Scrub Hare.


Name

Scrub Hare [Lepus saxatilis]

Appearance

The Scrub Hare is larger in the south-western parts of the range (2.7-4.5 kg) than further north (1.5-3.2 kg). The upper parts are a grizzled-grey and the under parts white. They have long ears which are grey in colour, and together with the black- and-white tail these become most visible whilst fleeing.

Diet

The Scrub Hare feeds mainly on short, green gasses, but during times of hardship scrub hares will also take leaves, stems and rhizomes of dried grass.

Breeding

Births peak from September to February, but they may give birth throughout the year to between one and three leverets per litter. Triplets are more likely during good rainy seasons. They will breed during most adverse drought conditions.

Behaviour

They are solitary. Females may be accompanied by a few males during oestrus. Preferred habitat is scrub, tall grasslands and savannah.

Where they are found

Distributed widely in South Africa but absent from forests, coastal desert areas and the drier north-western parts of the Northern Cape.

Field Notes

The Scrub Hares are renowned for running in front of cars at night, zigzagging as they run. This zigzagging run is presumed to be a way of avoiding capture but it is also thought that the shadows caused by the lights of the vehicle scare the hare into changing direction.



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