Interesting Facts About Scrub Hares

© Shem Compion
Lepus saxatilis

Refection

Scrub hares are vegetarians and eat grass, roots and tubers, which are digested by a hindgut fermentation system meaning all their food is digested in a large central stomach and only exposed to cellulose-decaying micro bacteria late in the digestive process. This means that digestion is quick but not as effective as it could be. For this reason, hares practice coprophagia (the consuming of dung) to maximize on the undigested nutrients still in their dung. Hares produce vitamin-rich soft green faeces during the night, called caecotropic faeces, which are immediately re-eaten directly from the anus to extract the moisture and additional nutrients in the dung and to replenish the micro bacteria in their guts. Then the following day, hares produce the more familiar hard pellets, which are discarded. This process is known as refection.

©Roger de la Harpe
Size
50 cm (females slightly larger than males)
Weight
2-3 kg
Lifespan
8 years
Habitat
Woodland and scrub
Gestation
42 days
Number of young
1-3
Food
Grass, roots, tubers
Predators
Jackals, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Pythons, Caracal, Leopard, Lion

By Megan Emmett