Pronolagus randensisJameson's red rockhare

Geographic Range

Jameson’s red rock hares are native to southern Africa in two disjunct areas. Their eastern distribution is from the southern part of the Northwest Province of South Africa into the southeastern edge of Botswana and to an area north of Harare and east of Mutare in Zimbabwe. Their western distribution is from south of Rehoboth in Namibia to the Kunene River, with a marginal distribution into Angola. Jameson’s red rock hares are found in these two areas because of their specific rocky habitat requirements. (Kingdon and Happold, 2013; Skinner and Chimimba, 2006)


All members of the genus Pronolagus live in kopjes, which are rocky outcrops found in higher elevations such as hilltops and rocky caverns. Jameson’s red rock hares tend to stay close to their burrows. However, eastern populations live in secluded kopjes and have to travel up to 20 km to reach the other kopjes. When multiple Pronolagus species occupy the same kopjes, P. randensis tends to occupy the lower portion of the kopje whereas the other species inhabits the upper portion of the kopje (Peddie 1975, in Duthie & Robinson 1990). (Duthie and Robinson, 1990; Irish, 1988; Skinner and Chimimba, 2006)

  • Other Habitat Features
  • caves

Physical Description

P. randensis can reach up to 2.3 kg. This species possesses silky hair that tends to be dark brown towards the neck and a lighter shade of brown towards the tail. The ventral side of this species is light brown, also progressively getting lighter towards the hind-feet. The neck has a characteristic white color and the cheeks are greyish. The ears lack dense amounts of hair and can have black tips. The tail is auburn with a distinguishing black tip. To distinguish between the three species in this genus several diagnostic characters are looked at including the size of the hare, hindfoot and ear measurements, as well as their specific location. Smith's red rock hare (P. rupestris) is the smallest of the Pronolagus species. P. crassicaudatus' (Natal red rock hare) and P. randensis' skull length is on average 85.5-96.3mm, whereas P. rupestris' skull is on average 82.4mm long. P. randensis differs from P. crassicaudatus when observing the pelage. P. randensis has a soft pelage and P. crassicaudatus has a more rough pelage. The hindfoot is also compared in the three species: P. randensis - 100mm, P. crassicaudatus - 112mm, and P. rupestris - 92mm. (Kingdon and Happold, 2013; Skinner and Chimimba, 2006)

  • Range mass
    1.8 to 2.3 kg
    3.96 to 5.07 lb
  • Range length
    420 to 500 mm
    16.54 to 19.69 in


Little to nothing is known about the mating systems in the genus Pronolagus. Observations show several males visit the female while she is going through estrus, but no mating behaviors have been recorded (Smithers 1983, in Duthie & Robinson 1990).

Little information is known about reproduction in the genus Pronolagus. This species breeds annually with the mother giving birth from one to two altricial young in the protective rocky kopje (Peddie 1975, in Duthie & Robinson 1990). (Duthie and Robinson, 1990; Skinner and Chimimba, 2006)

  • Range number of offspring
    1 to 2
  • Average number of offspring

Little information is known about this species’ parental care. Studies show females become pregnant in the months of January, July and August and lactate in June, July and August. Young are probably altricial. (Duthie and Robinson, 1990; Skinner and Chimimba, 2006)


The lifespan of P. randensis is unknown, but hare lifespans are known to range from less than one year and up to fourteen years. (Feldhamer, et al., 2003)


During the day, P. randensis remains in its kopje sleeping and avoiding the hot temperatures of the African plains. However, sunbathing has been observed during the day, which is considered an abnormal behaviour. P. randensis concentrates its excrement in latrines, but are also known to defecate around their rocky crevice. Under the cover of darkness P. randensis leaves its rocky den to graze on the surrounding vegetation near the species’ den, avoiding areas with dense vegetation. Even in captivity members of Pronolagus are solitary feeders. This species is capable of reaching remote crevices by jumping from rock to rock and climbing steep cliff sides. P. randensis is a solitary hare; however, groups of the same species have been seen together, likely when a female is in estrous are males are attracted to her (Peddie 1975, in Duthie & Robinson 1990). (Duthie and Robinson, 1990; Kingdon and Happold, 2013; Skinner and Chimimba, 2006)

Communication and Perception

P. randensis is known to use high pitch vocalizing calls during the night while out feeding. P. randensis makes loud screaming vocalizations that are in response to danger or when startled. Also, the juveniles in this species make a low purring sound when trapped (Roberts, 1951 in Peddie 1975).

Food Habits

P. randensis feeds primarily on grasses, and prefers to graze on new grass shoots located close to its refuge in the rocks. This species has been observed venturing away from its crevice when the amount of food has decreased in this small radius. P. randensis is often found congregated in recently burned areas feeding on the new grass shoots. Studies shows nearly all of the substances located in P. randesis’ faeces consist of monocotyledons, such as Heteropogon contortus, Ischaemum afrum, Themeda triandra and Hyparrhenia species. Like other hares P. randensis is coprophagous in order to gain as many nutrients from its diet as possible (Peddie 1975, in Duthie & Robinson 1990). (Duthie and Robinson, 1990; Stewart, 2008)

  • Plant Foods
  • leaves
  • Other Foods
  • dung


P. randensis’ known predators are leopards (Panthera pardus) and avian raptors, which include Cape eagle-owls (Bubo capensis) and Verreaux's eagles (Aquila verreauxii). This species avoids these predators by remaining close to its rocky shelters. This species uses crypsis and its surrounding environment to avoid predators These hares also avoid dense aeral cover, perhaps to ensure that they can see predators before they get to close (Peddie 1975, in Duthie & Robinson 1990). (Duthie and Robinson, 1990)

  • Anti-predator Adaptations
  • cryptic

Ecosystem Roles

Little is known about the roles this species plays in the environment. P. randensis is a prey item for several avian predators and may impact plant communities by their grazing behavior (Peddie 1975, in Duthie & Robinson 1990). (Duthie and Robinson, 1990)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

There are no known positive effects of P. randensis on humans.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known negative effects of P. randensis on humans.

Conservation Status

P. randensis’ populations are abundant in the South African wildlife refuges and conservation areas due to the species protection policies in those areas. However, habitat fragmentation can limit this species (Peddie 1975, in Duthie & Robinson 1990). (; Duthie and Robinson, 1990)


Riley Bartel (author), University of Manitoba, Jane Waterman (editor), University of Manitoba, Tanya Dewey (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

World Map


uses sound to communicate


young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


an animal that mainly eats leaves.


An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


active during the night


specialized for leaping or bounding locomotion; jumps or hops.


remains in the same area


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


lives alone


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


uses sight to communicate

year-round breeding

breeding takes place throughout the year


Duthie, A., T. Robinson. 1990. Chapter 8: The African Rabbits. Pp. 121-127 in J Chapman, J Flux, eds. Rabbits, Hares and Pikas: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. Gland, Switzerland: International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Feldhamer, G., B. Thompson, J. Chapman. 2003. Wild Mammals of North America. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Irish, J. 1988. An incidence of trogloxeny in Pronolagus randensis Jameson in southern Africa (Lagomorpha: Leporidae). Cimbebasia, 10: 149-150.

Kingdon, J., D. Happold. 2013. Mammals of Africa: Volume III. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Skinner, J., C. Chimimba. 2006. The mammals of the Southern African Sub-region. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Stewart, D. 2008. Food preferences of Pronolagus. African Journal of Ecology, Vol 9 Issue 1: 163.