A tiny kangaroo lookalike that glows in the dark… Perhaps Kruger’s most bizarre mammal, the spring hare.
Images of the elusive spring hare were recently shared on the LatestSightings app by Helen Griffin, also known as “Poppie.” As a self-proclaimed Kruger addict, Poppie has spent years exploring the African wilderness and capturing breathtaking moments.
During her stay at Shimuweni Bush Camp, Poppie noticed several holes near her unit. She wondered if they were porcupine burrows. But one night, while enjoying a braai and admiring the fireflies, she spotted two glowing orbs that were different from the rest. It turned out to be a spring hare.
Springhares have fur that glows in shades of red and pink under ultraviolet light.
The spring hare, also known as the springhaas, is a nocturnal animal found in the arid and semi-arid regions of southern Africa. They are solitary creatures, but during mating season, they can be seen in pairs like the ones Poppie encountered. These adorable creatures are not close relatives of the kangaroo despite their uncanny resemblance. They are known for their unique way of moving—hopping on their hind legs like a kangaroo!
Meet Africa’s Kangaroo – the Spring Hare
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Despite their name, spring hares are not actually hares at all; they are rodents. They have long ears, powerful hind legs, and a bushy tail that they use for balance while hopping. Spring hares are herbivores and feed on a variety of grasses and plants. They are also known for their exceptional hearing and can pick up the faintest sounds with their large ears.
These adorable creatures are fascinating to observe. They have been found to exhibit a unique characteristic—they fluoresce under UV light. A recent study found that the fur of spring hares, which appears brown under normal light, emits a bright pink glow when exposed to UV light. While the reason for this fluorescence is not fully understood, it is believed to be a form of communication or a defense mechanism.
Poppie eventually called it a wrap and went to bed but heard them around the chalet for much of the night. It was the first time she had ever seen a spring hare. Remember never visit the Kruger with any expectations! Be happy to be there and anything you see will be a bonus! Sometimes the bonus will be very unique like a pair of spring hares!