Scrub Hare

© Roger de la Harpe

Name

Scrub Hare [Lepus saxatilis]

Appearance

The scrub hare has long ears, a grisly grey coat with a white underbelly. Along with its black and white tail, it becomes nearly invisible when running at full speed in the bushveld. The scrub hare is larger in the south-western part (2.7-4.5 kg) than the populations further North of South Africa (1.5-3.2 kg).

Scrub Hare Diet

The scrub hare is herbivorous and feeds on short, green grasses grown in the bushveld plains of South Africa. In times of scarcity, the hares will also eat leaves, stems and rhizomes of dried grass.

Scrub Hare Breeding

Breeding occurs between September and February in South Africa, but they can breed throughout the year. Between one to three leverets are born per litter, with triplets being more likely during a rainy season.

Scrub Hare Behaviour

The scrub hare is solitary in nature, however, females in oestrus are often seen accompanied by several males.

Where They Are Found

The preferred habitat of the scrub hare is scrub bushveld, tall grasslands and savannah. They are distributed across South Africa, except forests, coastal desert regions and drier north-western parts of the Northern Cape.

Field Notes

The scrub hare can be seen running in front of cars at night in South Africa. They run in a zigzag pattern. It is believed they run in this way to avoid capture or they are frightened of the lights of the car that causes them to change direction.