Procavia capensis

Range: African coasts and inland mountain ranges

Habitat: Rocky terrain across sub-Saharan Africa

Conservation status: Least concern

Rock Hyrax

  • • These rather odd rodent look-a-likes live at altitudes from 1200 ft below sea level to mountain areas up to 11,000 ft.
    • Although they look like rodents, many scientists believe they are distantly related to elephants and manatees. The teeth are thought to be remnants of tusks.
    • Can climb trees to eat the leave and fruits
    • Soles of their feet are moist and rubber-like, providing traction when needed. Forefeet have four toes; hind feet, three. Their flat nails resemble hooves and the inner toe on each hind foot is smaller.
    • Most of their water is obtained from their food, but hyraxes will drink if water is available.
    • Coat is dense and consists of short underfur and long tactile guard hairs.
    • Like reptiles, hyraxes must use the environment to help control their body temperature. They sun themselves to warm up, draw back to the shade in order to escape intense daytime heat, and take refuge in holes at night. They won’t come out if it's raining.
    • In Africa, hyraxes are often called “dassies,” derived from the Dutch (first settlers) word Dasje meaning “little badger.”
    • Live in groups of 2 to 26 individuals, sometimes representing several families. Utilize crevices in rocks for shelter. Usually the dominant male or female, act as guards warning others of any would-be predator, with a loud cry.
    • Diet: Most hyraxes feed any time of day when it is warm and eat a variety of grasses and leaves. Gobble large bites in order to spend less time in open areas with little protection.
    • Unlike most herbivores—hyraxes don’t bite off leaves with their front teeth. Instead, they turn their heads to the side and use their molars, keeping an eye on the sky, as if watching for a swooping eagle.

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