Cape Hare (Lepus capensis)
aka Common Hare or Brown Hare (Lepus europeaus)

The Cape Hare has a typical Hare-like appearance, with long, powerful hind legs, long ears and a short, bushy tail that's white below and black on top. Body colour is variable, being brown, grey or red, sometimes flecked with white. Underneath is white. Often, there is a red-brown patch on the back of the neck. There is usually a white ring around their huge brown eyes. Unusually amongst mammals, the female is larger than the male.
Cape Hares weigh around 4lb 8oz (2kg). They are up to 24" (60cm) long and 6" (15cm) high at the shoulder.
The Cape (Common or Brown) Hare is very similar to the Savanna Hare (Lepus victoriae), also found throughout Kenya. The Cape Hare has strong preferences for open, shorter grassland, while Savanna Hares prefer woodland or bush cover with grass.

After a gestation period of 42 days, 1-3 Cape Hare leverets are born, weighing 3.5oz (100 grams), with their eyes open and able to move. The leverets are only suckled once a day, at night, for a very short time and only for a period of 20 days. Several litters a year are reproduced. Longevity is generally short in the wild, although they can live for 12 years.

Cape Hares are extremely fast and outrun all the big cats, except the Cheetah. Leopards, Caracals and Black-backed Jackals ambush the Cape Hare.

Generally, Cape Hares are solitary animals, although in ideal habitats, they occur in large numbers. Mainly nocturnal or crepuscular animals, they can be seen on overcast days. By day, they lie up in 'forms' (shallow indentations in the ground, made by the body).

Cape Hares eat grass and shubs. They also eat their own fecal material, direct from the anus, doubling the time their food stays in the digestive system. The pellets provide additional nourishment, due to the microbes present.

Other Facts
When approached, Cape Hares 'freeze' and rely on their body camoflage. They only run when a threat is extremely close, zigzagging at great speed. The only time they make a sound is when they are captured - they then scream like a human baby.

Photographed in Kenya's Olare Orok Conservancy.

Categories & Keywords
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:animal, brown hare, cape hare, common hare, hare, kenya, wildlife

Cape Hare ~ Alert

An alert looking Cape Hare (aka Common, or Brown Hare), head turned, facing the camera.

Cape Hare ~ Sitting

Cape Hare, sitting up in the grass in Kenya's Olare Orok Conservancy.