Rock hyrax rock are agile leg acrobats

The rock hyrax is very similar to the guinea pig or a big rabbit with very short ears. But this animal has teeth, toes and cranial structures very similar to those of elephants. So much so that some scientists consider rock hyrax one of the closest living relatives of the elephant.

According to studies, the hyrax shares an ancestor with the elephant. The strong molars The hyrax grind the hard vegetation and have two incisor teeth that are like small tusks, like those of an elephant.

Life on the rocks

This species belongs to the family Procaviidae or Hyrax , which has three members to its credit. The hyrax rock, the hyrax tree and the bushes or yellow spots. The rock hyrax live mostly in Africa, but it is also found on the coast of the Arabian peninsula as far as Lebanon.

As the name suggests, they are grouped into areas where there are rocks, rock formations or even small corners on cliffs that provide shelter and protection. Their houses are easy to identify as dwellings of hyrax, since the urine of these animals crystallizes and is seen as white spots on the rocks.

The hyrax rock legs are designed for the scale in rock. The lower part of each leg is bare and has a rubbery, wet pad that rises in the center to achieve a suction effect. This helps the hyrax to adhere to rocks and other smooth surfaces without slipping, hence they are also known as agile leg acrobats.

Some behavioral traits

Rock hyrax is a very sociable species. It can live in colonies of up to 50 individuals who share sleeping areas and seek food together. Each day begins with a group session of sunbathing for several hours. Once heated, they leave for a short period to feed.

The rock hyrax does not like cold or rainy weather and will not even leave its rocky shelter if the weather is not to their liking. Although they are diurnal, they can venture on moonlit night . They spend most of the time, however, doing nothing. Only about 5% of their time is spent on active activities.

In some parts of Africa, shrub hyrax often live in the same rocky areas as rock hyrax. The two species have been seen sharing shelter holes and gathering to warm up in the morning . Your puppies even play together. Although they differ in other ways, these two species seem to understand each other.

Feeding habits

Rock hyrax has a three-chamber stomach with bacteria that help digest plants that eat. During the wet season, rock hyrax eat mainly grass, but when the grass dries, they modify their diet and keep it with fruit and leaves.

Al When feeding, they do so in a circle , with their heads pointing outwards from that circle to monitor the predators. Among them are the presence of leopards, hyenas, jackals, as well as black eagles.

With its excellent vision, hyrax rock can detect a predator more than 900 meters away . During each feeding period, the dominant male of the group stops between bites to observe the danger. There is one male for every five females who patrol a certain territory within their colony . When the baby is born, usually around the same time once a year, the whole colony greets and smells the newborn.

The puppies are surprisingly precocious: they are born with eyes and ears open. > They look like adults in miniature and have the same exuberant fur. The hyrax rock is organized in groups to take care of the babies and the mothers take turns to take care of the little ones.

Three days after the birth, the puppies are already testing solid foods. The hyrax puppy consumes excrement from other hyrax. It is thought that this habit helps them to obtain the bacteria that their stomach needs to digest the plants they consume.

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