Geographical Range Southern Africa
Habitat Savannahs, sandy plains with sparse vegetation
Scientific Name Pedetes capensis
Conservation Status Common

Is it a rabbit? Is it a kangaroo? No, it’s a rodent! It would be hard to know exactly what a springhaas is just by looking at it. But this African mammal is most closely related to squirrels, beavers and other rodents.

The springhaas is built for jumping, with long hind legs and a strong bushy tail. In fact, it always leaves its underground burrow with a great leap in the air, probably to avoid any predators that might be waiting for it. When it’s frightened, the animal flees by hopping like a kangaroo, covering six to nine feet with every leap.

A male and female springhaas often dig several burrows, each of which has a series of tunnels. They spend their days sleeping in these underground homes, emerging at night to forage on bulbs and fleshy roots, plant stems and grains. They also occasionally eat insects.