Pedetes – Springhares

Q: What has a rabbit's face bounces like a kangaroo but is a rodent? A: A Springhare!

Each springhare undertakes the construction of its own burrow, which serves as a critical refuge from predators and extreme weather conditions. These burrows are meticulously sealed with sand by the springhare to secure the entrance, ensuring its safety while resting during the day. The design of these burrows, often featuring multiple exits and chambers, reflects the springhare’s engineering prowess, allowing for quick escapes and comfortable living quarters.

As dusk falls, the springhare emerges from its burrow to forage, embarking on a nightly quest for food. Their diet primarily consists of grass, bulbs, and roots, which are abundant in their habitat. While foraging, springhares exhibit a distinctive behavior of sitting upright, holding food in their front paws, much like squirrels. This posture is supported by their unusually long tails, which are longer than their bodies and serve as a balancing tool while they eat.

The springhare’s most iconic feature is its method of locomotion. Equipped with elongated back legs and shorter front legs, springhares are capable of making remarkable kangaroo-like leaps, covering distances of 2-3 meters (6.6-9.8 feet) in a single bound. This ability not only facilitates their foraging by allowing them to cover large areas efficiently but also provides them with a highly effective escape mechanism. At the first hint of danger, a springhare can swiftly leap back to the safety of its burrow, evading predators with astonishing agility.

Interestingly, the springhare’s reproductive cycle is also adapted to its environment. They can breed throughout the year, but peak breeding times are influenced by rainfall and food availability, ensuring that offspring are born during times when conditions are most favorable for survival.