Cape Hare – As Motionless As A Statue

As Motionless As A Statue

     First glance brought quite a shock as well as a flood of childhood memories to mind.  For a moment I thought I was back on our family vineyard in southern California [sadly those days are long gone].  The Cape Hare, sitting stone-still in full view, looked like the Black-tailed Jackrabbits that were such a prominent wild hallmark in our orchard.  The thing that was most-strikingly interesting about the Cape Hare was that it not only looked like the “Lepus” I remembered, but it behaved like it, too.

     At our approach, the wary creature exploded away like an unconstrained rocket only to go but a short distance and freeze as motionless as a statue.  It was a trick I witnessed the Jackrabbit perform many times and one surely designed to fool a pursuing predator.  With its prominent ears laid back to lessen its profile, and its wide-reaching peripheral vision taking in its surroundings, the Cape Hare anxiously waited.

     As we drew near, the evasive lagomorph suddenly put on another burst of lightning-like speed, zigging and zagging in a dynamic display of broken-field running … another behavior the Jackrabbit from my youth employed to foil a would-be assailant.  Then the Cape Hare simply and completely melted into the Tanzanian grassland.

~ Anecdote and Cape Hare capture, As Motionless As A Statue © Jerry L. Ferrara.  The Serengeti, Tanzania, Africa