Unusual features/differences from similar
The spot on the back is black in
Rock hyrax and is cream in the Tree
Visible Male/Female Differences
have one pair of nipples on the chest and two pairs on the belly, or just the two
pairs on the belly whereas the Rock hyrax always has one pair on the
chest and two on the belly.
Habitat and Distribution
A wide range of vegetation.
Litters of two are born in March-April. Breeds at the same time as Rock
the same area to prevent predators from concentrating on them. Young are born fully
furred and mobile with eyes open. Taken by eagles, caracals and
Behavior and Habits
Feeds in the morning and afternoon. Rests in
shelter to avoid the midday heat. Spends only 5% of the time feeding, interacting
and moving around as a way of saving energy and avoiding predators. Saves metabolic energy by allowing body temperature to fall by as much as 3°C and then
basks in the sun with the coat fluffed up to expose
the dark under fur to absorb heat. Rock dassies are exceptionally agile, the soft, moist pads of
their feet providing a secure grip even on smooth rock. They also climb trees to
reach the foliage.
Often lives in mixed colonies with rock dassies, but
when conditions are hard the Rock hyrax dominates. Colonies consist of 3-1 7 females and their young. Group size
depends on the availability of shelter. Males without territories are
solitary. Territorial males control the colony and only they have access to breeding females. Males are aggressive
and their sharp
incisor teeth can inflict serious wounds on each other and on females and fights
over colonies can result in fatalities. Territorial
takeovers are attempted at the end of the mating season when the breeding males
are in poor physical condition. Juveniles form nursery groups. Sub adult
males leave their groups at 15 months.
hyraxes and Yellow-spotted hyrax young form mixed
nursery groups for which adults of either species act as guards. Dung accumulates in piles at latrine sites.
They urinate in specific spots and dried urine produces conspicuous white streaks on
sometimes accumulates into substantial amber deposits which at one time were
used in folk remedies. The hair on the dorsal
patch is raised to release the odor of the gland's secretion.
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 and Field sign
Dung is roughly spherical,
rough-surfaced, dark droppings about 1, 5 cm in diameter. Deposited in middens. White streaks on
rocks from dried urine.