The longhorn or Cape longhorn belongs to the order of rodents, the family is long-legged.
The longhorn is common in Africa. Its habitat stretches from the southern regions of the Congo and Kenya to the Cape of Good Hope; it is also found in East Africa.
Appearance of the Cape Strider
In appearance, the striders are similar to large jerboas or small long-tailed kangaroos. Their length is 35-45 cm, and weight reaches 3-4 kg.
The head is short, with a blunt muzzle. The neck is thick, muscular. The eyes are big. The ears are similar to rabbit, the same long - 9 cm and narrow. The ear hole is covered by a tragus so that sand does not get inside the ear. The hind legs of the strider are surprisingly long, and the front legs are small, but with strong sharp claws intended for digging.Cape Strider (Pedetes capensis).
The claws on the hind legs are flat, resembling a hoof. The front legs have 5 fingers, the rear legs 4, with an undeveloped I finger and a very short V. The dark tail is 37-48 cm long, densely covered with hairs at the end. The body of the strider is covered with a thick, silky fur that does not have undercoat.
The hair color on the back is brownish, sandy or reddish-brown with separate black and white hairs. The coat on the abdomen is almost white. There is one pair of breast mammary glands. The strider has 16 chewing teeth without roots and 4 incisors. Teeth are quickly erased from coarse plant foods, but also grow quickly throughout life.
Cape Strider Habitats
The Cape Strider inhabits a desert and semi-desert area, sometimes pastures, fields with crops of cereal crops. Rodents make holes that are easy to detect by the discharge of earth to the surface. They prefer to settle on sandy, dry soils, in river valleys overgrown with rare trees and shrubs.The longhorn is the only species of the long-legged family.
Features of the behavior of the strider
An active lifestyles lead at night. In the afternoon, the animals hide in holes and wait for the heat, plugging the inlet with a lump of earth or a bunch of grass to keep cool in the shelter and to avoid the invasion of an unexpected predator.
In one hole there lives one strider or a pair of animals with cubs. In the settlements, rodent burrows are located close to each other, but the personal area of one animal occupies a circumference of 25-250 meters around the burrow, while the deceptive impression that the striders live in groups.The longhorn is found from the south of Congo and Kenya to the Cape of Good Hope.
When darkness falls, the strider leaves his shelter in an interesting way: in a rapid jump he literally “shoots” his body out of the hole, as if they had loaded an underground cannon and fired up. Thus, the strider avoids meeting with a predator, which can lie in wait for a rodent near the hole. A sudden exit from the hole should confuse him.
Dolphins are magnificent jumpers, their jumps are very significant and amount to 2-3 meters, sometimes 6-9. The tail during movement is parallel to the ground or twisted. In a calm state, the strider moves on 4 limbs, digging tubers, roots, and bulbs of various plants with its front legs. During the fright, the animal runs away on its hind legs, making large jumps up to 2-3 meters long. For such jumping abilities and the presence of long "hare" ears, the strider received the English nickname "jumping hare."Actively move on both two and four legs.
The sleeping strider adopts a pose similar to the position of cats during sleep: the strider curls into a ball and covers itself with its tail, or sleeps while sitting with outstretched hind legs. During feeding, the striders do not like to move a great distance from the hole, but with a lack of food they can cover a distance of about 40 kilometers in one night!
Eating food, the striders most often stand on four legs, but when there is danger, they immediately scatter in different directions and hide in their holes.
In Cape striders, breeding is independent of the season. The female strider bears one cub 78-82 days. A newborn weighs an average of 278 - 300 grams, he is covered with hair, but blind, his eyes open only for 3 days. Young striders at the age of 7 weeks become independent.The strider’s meat is tasty, so people don’t mind hunting for them.
They reach puberty by gaining a weight of 2.5 kg. Dolgods produce offspring 2-4 times a year with a break of 101 days.
In nutrition, the strider prefers above-ground and succulent underground parts of plants, which he digs out with his front paws. Less often, the animal eats lizards and insects. These rodents harm agricultural crops by destroying oats, wheat, barley, and peanuts. Longstriders love licking salt that protrudes on the surface of the soil.
The value and status of the strider in nature
In the agricultural regions of Africa, the striders harm cultural crops, so people prey on them, although the fur of the striders is not valuable. Locals consider the meat of rodents to be tasty, so they get animals with a gun or simply pour water from the holes.Until 2001, this species was on the lists of the International Red Book; Now he does not belong to the protected.
Until 2001, the Cape Strider was on the lists of the International Red Book. This species is the only representative of its family, but the number of animals in nature is quite large, therefore, at present, rodents do not need protection.
Cape striders easily endure the conditions of captivity, they are bred in many zoos in the world, but nowhere did these animals feed their cubs themselves. In the Moscow zoo, this species of rodent has been living for about 20 years. For such a long period, the strikers gave birth to only two cubs, one of whom died, and the second survived on artificial feeding. This animal lived for 14 years and set a record for the lifespan of a Cape strider in captivity. Observations on the feeding of a young strider have been published.
Strikers caught in nature become manual in 2-3 weeks. A spacious cage allows animals to jump freely on the sand. The striders are fed a mixture of grains, chopped vegetables, raisins, fruits, cottage cheese, oatmeal, vitamin and mineral supplements.