Spring hare


Pedetes capensis

 This nocturnal, terrestrial mammal is well known all over except along the West Coast.  They live in burrows in sandy soil and come out at night to feed on roots and other vegetation.  Considered a pest in crops.  Its large, bright eyes and kangaroo-like bounces are characteristic sights from a vehicle at night.  They fall prey to all the predators you can think of, even the African wild cat.


In area like Freestate, Karoo and Kalahari where springhare abound, it is common practice to shoot at them from the back of a pickup after dark.  Unfortunately this frequently happens late night and after supper when the beer has made its presence felt, with consequent unethical practices.  As mentioned several times on this web site, I have a problem with an attitude of indifference regarding the wounding of animals.  (See the Values of African Econo Hunter.)  Too light calibers and inaccurate shooting are the main reasons of my concern.  I am told there is also the (hopefully infrequent) practice of running after them and kicking them dead.  Now when the antis view hunters as pursuant of “blood sport”, we sometimes cannot blame them.

I have no problem with springhare hunting when sober people shoot accurately (by spotlight), using enough gun (22 center fire when further from the vehicle) and ensure that the meat gets eaten.

Did you know?

Springhare are rodents, not hare
They have sloping tunnels for normal use and vertical tunnels for emergency retreats
Each burrow (up to 50 yards!) has a single occupant, and gets sealed off from the inside with soil during daytime.  There is an escape hole to just below the surface.