01 Apr Bush Bunny – Waste not, Want not
Sitting on the deck and enjoying a sundowner, while watching the African sunset, be prepared to encounter wild bunny cuteness overload as the scrub hares awaken to hop into the revelry of the bushveld night feast.
With their greyish speckled coats, long ears laid back, crouching low to the ground, these cute characters turn into masters of camouflage to avoid predators. If this does not work, speed becomes the next best option.
Like their domestic cousins, rabbits, scrub hares have the habit of eating the same food twice. After feeding at night on all sorts of tasty morsels such as leaves, buds, roots, berries, fungi, bark and twigs; their nightly droppings consist of undigested plant matter. The scrub hare, who is not a wasteful creature and believes in recycling, will eat those droppings to further extract any nutrients from the undigested plant material. Their morning droppings are hard dry pellets devoid of any nutrients.
Being creatures of the night, scrub hares prefer to spend the day lying around under bushes or in a depression in the ground known as a “form”. These “forms” play an important role in the ecosystem because the hares aerate and redistribute soil in creating them.
Scrub hares are born fully haired with open eyes. The young hide in “forms” to avoid the attentions of predators, with the mother only spending a short time each day with her babies for them to suckle. It has been said that if there is a problem pregnancy or food is scarce, the female is able to reabsorb the embryo.
If ever you are spending time outside, enjoying the beauty of the evening in the African bushveld – be on the lookout, you may just get a glimpse of this cute character venturing out on its nightly adventures, enjoying a tasty morsel as it goes along.