The Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis) is a mammal in the Procaviidae family. Hyrax means shrew mouse.
The Rock Hyrax is related to the Elephant and the Manatee (Dugong). It has tusks like the Elephant, which develop from the incisor teeth (most mammalian tusks develop from canine teeth). Also, like the Elephant, it has flattened nails on the tips of its toes, rather than curved, elongated claws that most mammals have.
The Rock Hyrax is furry and round, with a short tail. It has molar teeth and incisor teeth. The two upper incisors are large and tusk-like, and grow continuously throughout its life, similar to rodents such as rats. The four lower incisors are deeply grooved ‘comb teeth’. It has pads on its feet, which helps it move up steep, rocky terrains. It has four stumpy toes on each front foot and three on each back foot, all with hoof-like nails.
It grows to 30-70 centimetres (12-18 inches) long.
It is native to the Middle East ad Africa.
The Rock Hyrax is herbivorous (plant eating). It has a multi-chambered stomach that breaks down tough plant materials, but it cannot regurgitate its food.
It lives in small family groups of females and their young, with a single male. The remaining males live solitary lives.
The female gives birth to 3-4 babies after a pregnancy of 7-8 months.
Location of photographs: Kenya
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM