SCRUB HARE

It is always worth waiting for a while at a waterhole, even when there appears to be nothing of interest there at first. A lot of visitors ignore the birds and terrapins that frequent these places. They park, scan the surroundings, see no animals and leave. Having watched the interaction between Egyptian Geese and South African Shelducks for a little while, I turned my attention to the surrounding veld – we had already watched two Blackbacked Jackals passing along the edge of Ghwarrie Pan and so I was curious to see if anything else might be approaching the water from behind us.

Nothing. Or so I thought. Then my attention was caught by a slight movement in the grass – a very slight movement without a shape or form to identify it at first. There it was again, only this time I could make out ears – long ears at that!

Scrub Hares rely on their long ears to detect danger. For how long had that Scrub Hare been foraging not far from where were parked?

Scrub Hares (Lepus saxatilis) tend to be solitary animals. Their fur is a grizzled grey colour with blotches of small black areas in between – colouration that enables them to blend in with their environment and so escape detection.

Apart from their size, the pure white underparts of the Scrub Hare easily distinguishes them from the Cape Hare.

Although they are found all over South Africa, they are not always that easy to see as they tend to hide during the middle of the day. They are typically nocturnal animals, coming out at night and in the late afternoon on overcast days. I think that is why we were fortunate enough to come across this one shortly before sunset. Their large eyes are indicative of their nocturnal habits.

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