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88 swahili: Sungura Both the African Savanna Hare and the Cape Hare have long ears, well-developed hind legs, small tails and flecked brown-grey backs with white underparts. Although they are extremely difficult to tell apart in the field, a range of morphological and ecological characteristics can help to identify them in East Africa. The African Savanna Hare is relatively dark, has a distinct rufous nape and ears that are longer than its head. It also commonly has a white spot on its forehead. The shape of the head is gently convex from the forehead to the tip of the nose, and it has a long muzzle. This species favours grassy areas with bushes and woodland for cover. The Cape Hare is paler than the African Savanna Hare and has a grey-buff, often indistinct, nape. The ears are roughly the same length as its head, and have rounded tips that are fringed with short black hairs. The forehead is angular, bending sharply downwards above the eye. It has a shorter muzzle than African Savanna Hare, and rarely has a white spot on the forehead. It is usually found in open grassland. Another useful field identification feature is their behaviour: the African Savanna Hare runs for cover when disturbed, whereas the Cape Hare frequently runs into the open. Specimens can be positively identified by their incisor tooth structure: Cape Hare has a light groove with no cement; African Savanna Hare has a deep groove filled with cement. Similar species The Smith’s Red Rock Hare (page 90) has much smaller ears and a rufous body and tail. Ecology and social behaviour While there is some overlap in habitat preference, African Savanna Hares are typically found in woodland and wooded grassland, and generally prefer grassland with more scrub cover; Cape Hares are restricted to more open grasslands. Both species feed on grasses, but African Savanna Hares have a higher proportion of herbs in their diet. Both species are solitary and mostly nocturnal, although they may be active during the late afternoon on cloudy days. Distribution inTanzania The African Savanna Hare is very widely distributed in Tanzania, occurring in all lowland habitat types except forests, and is found in every Game Reserve and mainland National Park, except Rubondo NP. The Cape Hare is restricted to the drier areas of northern and central Tanzania, and is probably absent from the miombo woodland African Savanna Hare Scrub Hare Lepus victoriae Cape Hare Lepus capensis Least Concern HB: 40–60cm (8–10") Tail: 1–1·5cm (0·5") Wt: 1·3–3·0kg (3–7lb) Where to look The African Savanna Hare can be commonly seen on night drives in most areas inTanzania. The Cape Hare can be observed on the open plains of the Serengeti NP and Ngorongoro CA, where it is often flushed by vehicles during the day,and around the Lake Natron area. ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Savanna Cape ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Area of overlap HARES AND RABBITS: Lagomorpha MamTanz.indd 88 31/01/2014 14:13 89 in the south and west of the country. However, its precise distribution in Tanzania is not known and requires more research. The Cape Hare is known from the Serengeti NP and Ngorongoro CA, and it probably also occurs in Tarangire, Manyara, Arusha and Mkomazi NPs. There is one record from near Lindi in the southeast of Tanzania from 1951, although its validity is unclear. Population size and conservation status Hares are abundant across much of Tanzania. They are often common around human habitation, and their nocturnal habits and high birth rates make them less susceptible to hunting pressure than larger species of mammal. Cape Hare: main photo: Serengeti NP (Tanzania) African Savanna Hare: inset: (Kenya) Hares MamTanz.indd 89 31/01/2014 14:13 90 swahili: Sungura Mwekundu, Kitengule A medium-sized hare with dense, soft fur. The back is a grizzled rufous-brown or grey colour and the underside is a light tawnywhite . The front legs are only slightly shorter than the hind legs and have bright red fur. The tail is bushy and rufous with a black tip. There is a rufous patch behind the neck. The ears are relatively short and not longer than the head. Similar species The African Savanna Hare and Cape Hare (page 88) are larger with much longer ears and are not typically found in rocky and hilly habitat. Ecology and social behaviour Smith’s Red Rock Hares occupy rocky hillsides and ravines with boulders and rock crevices that offer suitable cover. Although...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781400852802
Related ISBN
9780691161174
MARC Record
OCLC
880058238
Pages
320
Launched on MUSE
2014-10-29
Language
English
Open Access
No
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