What is a springhare?
This unusual hare, which appears to be a cross between a kangaroo and a rabbit, has caused scientists much confusion. They were once grouped with jerboas (jumping rodents), then with porcupines, then with scaly-tailed squirrels, until finally they were allotted their own family. Their large back legs enable them to make gigantic leaps, using their long tail for balance. Their much smaller forelimbs have very sharp claws, which they use 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.
They are homebodies.
Springhares eat the stems, roots, and sprouts of many plants as well as herbs and fruit. Normally, they do not roam more than 25 to 250 meters from their burrows; during periods of severe drought, they have been reported to travel 10 to 20 kilometers a night in search of food and water.
They are territorial.
Springhares usually live in burrows, the entrance of which they plug up with sand once inside. Little is known about the social life of these unique hares. Each burrow is inhabited by one animal, a female with her young or, at most, a pair with their young. Sometimes, fairly large concentrations of 30 to 40 individuals are found in an area, and their burrows may be linked.
They are big babies.
Three babies are usually born to a female every year. An infant at birth is well-developed, fully furred, and weighs about one-third the weight of an adult. Newborns can sit on their 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.
They can be awkward.
Springhares 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 them to detect vibrations.