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Temporal range: Early Pliocene to Recent in Africa[1]
Spring Hare (Pedetes capensis) (6042009463).jpg
South African springhare (P. capensis)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Pedetidae
Genus: Pedetes
Illiger, 1811

See text

Pedetes is a genus of rodent, the springhares, in the family Pedetidae. Members of the genus are distributed across southern and Eastern Africa.


A number of species both extant and extinct are classified in the genus Pedetes, they include:

Throughout the 20th century, the living species (and occasionally the prehistoric one) were merged into P. capensis, making the genus monotypic.[3][4]


These rodents are generally nocturnal and sleep through the day in burrows they dig, they feed on foliage, roots and other vegetable matter, and occasionally arthropods. Outside the burrow they usually move around by hopping on their hind legs.

When only one springhare species was recognized, it was listed as vulnerable by the IUCN in 1996 due to an approximately 20% decrease in the population over the previous ten years; this has been caused by intense hunting and the loss of habitat. However, the negative trend has not persisted, and both species are now listed as Species of Least Concern.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McKenna, M.C. and Bell, S.K. 1997. Classification of Mammals: Above the species level. New York: Columbia University Press, 631 pp. ISBN 978-0-231-11013-6 (p. 185)
  2. ^ Fossil Pedetidae (Rodentia) from Laetoli. Leakey, M.D.; Harris, J.M.[Eds]. Laetoli. A Pliocene site in northern Tanzania., Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York etc., 1987: i-xxii, 1-561. Chapter pagination: 171-190. [Zoological Record Volume 124]
  3. ^ Matthee, C. A. & Robinson, T. J. (1997). "Mitochondrial DNA phylogeography and comparative cytogenetics of the springhare, Pedetes capensis (Mammalia: Rodentia)". Journal of Mammalian Evolution. 4 (1): 53–73. doi:10.1023/A:1027331727034.
  4. ^ Matthee, C. A. & Robinson, T. J. (1997). "Molecular phylogeny of the springhare, Pedetes capensis, based on mitochondrial DNA sequences". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 14 (1): 20–29. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a025698.

Further reading[edit]