Cape hares are typical hares in appearance. They have well-developed legs for leaping and running, and large eyes and ears to look for threats from their environment. Usually, a white ring surrounds their eye. These hares have a fine, soft coat which varies in colour from light brown to reddish to sandy grey. Females in this species are usually larger than males.
Cape hares are native to Africa, Middle East and Central, South and Western Asia. They are also found on Sardinia islands (Italy) and Cypress. These hares inhabit shrubland, grassland, bushveld, the Sahara Desert and semi-desert areas.
Cape hares are solitary animals that are active during the night. They are very fast runners and can achieve speeds of up to 48 m/h (77km/h). These hares are also excellent swimmers and climbers. They can scan the area while lying down to rest with their large eyes that cover a field of 360 degrees. Cape hares close their eyes when they feel safe and take a nap. They rarely have a deep sleep and it usually lasts for more than 1 minute per day. If during a sleep they hear any sound or see the possible danger they will press close to the ground and freeze.
Little information is available regarding the mating habits of Cape hares. The breeding season lasts from January to June. Females give birth to one to three babies per litter and may have as many as 4 litters per year. The gestation period usually lasts around 42 days. Young are born with their eyes open and are able to move about shortly after birth. The mother nurses her young around 3 weeks and at this time they already consume plant food. At 1 month of age young become completely independent. Both males and females become reproductively mature at around 8 months of age.
Within the Gulf States, Cape hares face a number of threats that include urban and infrastructural development, road kills, livestock competition, hunting and poisoning, different recreational activities, climate change, disease, the loss of habitat and its fragmentation. In Africa, Cape hares suffer from the habitat loss due to agricultural practices; hunting is another threat to these animals.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Cape hare is unknown. However, in the southern region of their African range, the total population number of these animals today is more than 10,000 individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today are decreasing.