Behavior

The springhare is terrestrial and nocturnal, although individuals are occasionally observed during daylight hours. Although usually solitary, springhares may form male-female pairs. They are well equipped for burrowing and excavate one or more burrows with a diameter of 7.8-9.8 in (20-25 cm) up to 3 ft (0.9 m) below ground level, preferably in firm, sandy soil. They commence their emergence at dusk with a

The springhare (Pedetes capensis) uses its powerful hindlegs to jump short distances. (Photo by Gregory G. Dimijian/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

powerful leap into the air to avoid the threat posed by potential predators waiting outside the entrance to the burrow.

Certain feeding areas may be favored and the springhare will return to these on a nightly basis, although established paths to the areas are not created. During feeding, Pedetes will move on all fours and will sit up, using its tail as a support, when consuming food. When proceeding at full speed, the species hops using only the rear legs in the same manner as kangaroos. Although a distance of 2.2 yd (2 m) (some sources suggest leaps of up to 9.8 yd [9 m]) may be covered in a single bound, springhares avoid moving at speed downhill due to their ricochetal gait.

Pedetes capensis has keen senses of hearing, smell, and vision and will run away at the least sign of danger due to its limited fighting abilities. When sleeping, Pedetes will sit on its

A newborn springhare (Pedetes capensis). (Photo by John Visser. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

A springhare (Pedetes capensis) emerges from its burrow. (Photo by W. T. Miller. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

A newborn springhare (Pedetes capensis). (Photo by John Visser. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

A springhare (Pedetes capensis) emerges from its burrow. (Photo by W. T. Miller. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

haunches with head and forelimbs buried between the thighs and the tail coiled around the body.

Although usually silent, the species may occasionally emit low grunts.

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