Unusual features/differences from similar
The spot on the back is usually
black whereas the dorsal spot is cream to yellow-red in Yellow-spotted
hyrax and white/off-white in the Tree hyrax. The Yellow-spotted
hyrax sometimes has no nipples on the chest while the number of nipples can
vary in the
Visible Male/Female Differences
are larger than females and the tips of their incisor teeth show below the
Habitat and Distribution
A wide range of
not forests. The only definite requirement is rocks for shelter. Human-made structures are also acceptable.
Vegetation including grass shrubs and trees.
Prefers easily digestible vegetation but also eats plants that
are poisonous to domestic stock. Independent of water when green vegetation
Breeding is triggered by the length of the day. Two young
per litter is produced in females at 2 years and 4-6 per litter at 5 years and older. Young are
born fully furred and active, takes solid food at a few days old and are
weaned by 1-5 months. Females are
sexually mature at 16-17 months and males at 28-29 months and lifespan rarely
over 8 years in the wild. They are taken by eagles, caracals and
Behavior and Habits
Feeds in the morning and afternoon and rests in
shelter to avoid the midday heat. They spend only 5% of the time feeding and can
saves metabolic energy by allowing body temperature to fall by as much as 3°C. Basks in the sun with the coat fluffed up to absorb heat. Rock dassies are
very agile and the soft, moist pads of
their feet providing a secure grip even on smooth rock. They also climb trees to
reach the foliage.
group size depends on the availability of shelter but normally consists of 3-17 females and their young.
Only the territorial males have access to breeding females.
Males are aggressive and they can inflict serious wounds with their sharp teeth.
over colonies which occur at the end of mating season when the breeding
males are weaker can result in fatalities. Males without territories are
hyraxes and Yellow-spotted hyrax young form mixed
nursery groups which adults of either species guard. Dung accumulates in piles at latrine sites
and urine produces conspicuous white streaks on
rocks which sometimes accumulates into substantial deposits which are
used in folk remedies. The hair on the dorsal
patch can during aggression and courtship which releases the odor of the gland.
Alarm calls are a warning squeak or a shrill bark which elicits flight. A
monotonous shrill bark is made by territorial males. They grunt, growl, spit and
gnash their teeth when aggressive.
Dung is roughly spherical,
rough-surfaced, dark droppings about 1,5cm in diameter. Deposited in middens. White streaks on
rocks from dried urine.