What is a springhare?
The unusual springhare, which appears to be a cross between a kangaroo and a rabbit, has caused scientists much confusion. It was once grouped with jerboas (jumping rodents), then with porcupines, then with scaly-tailed squirrels, until finally it was allotted its own family. The springhare’s large back legs enable it to make gigantic leaps, using its long tail for balance. Its much smaller forelimbs have very sharp claws, which it uses to dig. The springhare also possesses a flap of skin at the base of the ear that can be completely closed to prevent sand from getting into the inner ear.
Spring hares are homebodies.
Spring hares eat the stems, roots, and sprouts of many plants as well as herbs and fruit. Normally, they do not roam more than 300 or 400 yards from their burrows; during periods of severe drought, springhares have been reported to travel 6 to 12 miles a night in search of food and water.
They are territorial.
Spring hares usually live in burrows, the entrance of which they plug up with sand once inside. Little is known about the social life of the springhare. Each burrow is inhabited by one animal, a female with its young or, at most, a pair with their young. Sometimes, fairly large concentrations of 30 to 40 springhares are found in an area, and their burrows may be linked.
They are big babies.
Three babies are usually born to a female per year. An infant at birth is well-developed, fully furred, and weighs about one-third the weight of an adult. It can sit on its hind legs immediately and can even run on the second day. Even so, the young are rarely seen when small and remain in the burrow until about half grown.
Spring hares can be awkward.
Spring hares have a strange resting posture. They sit with their hind legs stretching forward and bodies bent between them, with the flat top of the head and ears in direct contact with the ground. This position seems to enable springhares to detect vibrations.