30 July 2012 by Julienne du Toit

The Zen of a scrub hare

A rabbit in a reverie, you might think, when you come across a lone scrub hare gazing at the rising moon before a night’s activities. More than any other nocturnal beast, it seems to prepare for the night by meditating.

In the late afternoon, scrub hares are contemplative. Photo Chris Marais

There is something special about catching sight of a scrub hare just before dark.

A solitary creature, it will have recently roused itself for the night (it’s nocturnal) and is almost always in a particularly dreamy state of mind. Particularly when it’s moonrise.

The most abiding memory most people have of a hare is of it bounding in front of the headlights, apparently unable to break out of the path of light. But that’s also just a Jedi mind trick.


										Like a Zen master with long ears. Photo Chris Marais

That’s when it often sits in a mildly entranced state, gazing at the moon and looking for all the world like a Zen meditation master with long ears.

But the scrub hare is a beast of contrasts. The most abiding memory most people have of a hare is of it bounding in front of the headlights, apparently unable to break out of the path of light. But that’s also just a Jedi mind trick.

It’s the way it throws predators off its track. The hare waits until the predator is really close, breathing down its neck, then jinks quickly into the bush.

The scrub hare also has another way of dealing with predators.

If it sees them before they’ve started to stalk, it will run in a slow, rocking horse kind of way, flashing the white underside of the tail in a semaphore signal that says, 'Don’t even bother, because I can see you.'

At dusk, if you see a scrub hare, spend a few minutes with its contemplative whiffly self. It will be 1 of the most restful things you can do before you go off to pour that sundowner.


										A quiet moment with a scrub hare. Photo Chris Marais

Category: Wildlife


comments powered by Disqus