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Our look is the result of reader comments, our own experimentation, and feedback from distribution channels. Distinctive covers complement our distinctive approach to technical topics, breathing personality and life into potentially dry subjects.

The animal on the cover of Python Cookbook is a springhaas (Pedetes capensis), also known as a spring hare. Springhaas are not hares at all, but rather the only member of the family Pedetidae in the order Rodentia. They are not marsupials, but they are vaguely kangaroo-like, with small front legs, powerful hind legs designed for hopping, jumping, and leaping, and long, strong, bushy (but not prehensile) tails they use for balance and as a brace when sitting. They grow to be about 14-18 inches long, with tails as long as their bodies, and can weigh approximately 8 pounds. Springhaas have rich, glossy, tawny or golden-reddish coats with long, soft fur and white underbellies. Their heads are disproportionately large, and they have long ears (with a flap of skin at the base they can close to prevent sand from getting inside while they are digging) and large, dark brown eyes.

Springhaas mate throughout the year and have a gestation period of about 78-82 days. Females generally give birth to only one young (which stays with its mother until it is approximately seven weeks old) per litter but have three or four litters each year. Babies are born with teeth and fully furred, with their eyes closed and ears open.

Springhaas are terrestrial and well-adapted for digging, and they tend to spend their days in the small networks of their burrows and tunnels. They are nocturnal and primarily herbivorous, feeding on bulbs, roots, grains, and occasionally insects. While they are foraging, they move about on all fours, but they are able to move 10-25 feet in a single horizontal leap and are capable of quick getaways when frightened. Although they are often seen foraging in groups in the wild, they do not form an organized social unit and usually nest alone or in breeding pairs. Springhaas can live up to 15 years in captivity. They are found in Zaire, Kenya, and South Africa, in dry, desert, or semiarid areas, and they are a favorite and important food source in South Africa.

Matt Hutchinson was the production editor for Python Cookbook . Matt Hutchinson and Rachel Wheeler copyedited the book. Colleen Gorman and Mary Anne Weeks Mayo provided quality control. John Bickelhaupt wrote the index.

Pam Spremulli designed the cover of this book, based on a series design by Edie Freedman. The cover image is from Animal Creation: Mammalia. Emma Colby produced the cover layout with QuarkXPress 4.1 using Adobe's ITC Garamond font.

David Futato designed the interior layout. This book was converted to FrameMaker 5.5.6 with a format conversion tool created by Erik Ray, Jason McIntosh, Neil Walls, and Mike Sierra that uses Perl and XML technologies. The text font is Linotype Birka; the heading font is Adobe Myriad Condensed; and the code font is LucasFont's TheSans Mono Condensed. This colophon was written by Rachel Wheeler.

The online edition of this book was created by the Safari production group (John Chodacki, Becki Maisch, and Madeleine Newell) using a set of Frame-to-XML conversion and cleanup tools written and maintained by Erik Ray, Benn Salter, John Chodacki, and Jeff Liggett.

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