Cute, community, and funny, are words that have been associated with dassies – aka the rock hyrax – over the years. Equal parts enticing and intimidating, these furry mammals are fascinating to behold, as their antics range from adorable to scary. They are quite harmless unless confronted and are likely to be found wandering through mountains, bushveld or even in trees.

They Are The Closest Relative To An Elephant

Despite their diminutive size and the fact that they look like a grumpy guinea pig, the rock hyrax (Procavia capensis) is actually the closest living relative to an elephant. Both species feature tusk-like teeth protrusions, and their toes, as well as their skull structures also bear marked similarities.

Find Your Tribe

The rocky hyrax can live in colonies of up to 100 members. This tribe-style living comes with many advantages, notably because the community will help to gather food, look after each other’s young (who all play together), and to help give warning or ward off predators. Much like meerkats do, rock hyraxes will form a circle when it’s feeding time, and the alpha male will keep watch and give an alarm call if he spots danger, so the group can scatter to safety.

Eating It All

Due to the diverse regions that hyrax’s can be found, from savannah and grasslands to mountains, they stick to an omnivore diet. They feast on fruit, leaves, plants, berries, and even insects or the eggs of birds or lizards if they come across them.

Sun Lovers

If you see a hyrax in the early morning, it will likely be lying out and about in the sun, soaking in the morning rays. This helps warm it up after the long, usually cold nights, and help give it energy to start foraging for food during the midday hours.

From Africa To The Middle East

While the rock hyrax can be seen out and about in Africa where you can also access an online Pakistan casino, there are also hyrax which live in the Middle East and are often spotted everywhere from Lebanon through to Jordan. Procavia capensis consists of three distinct species, with sub-species as well. They all tend to look similar, and they are known as: the rock hyrax, the bush hyrax and the tree hyrax. Other names that this species has been called over the years include: dassies, Coney, rock badgers and even rock rabbits.

Sing It Loud

While animals communicate in a variety of ways, rock hyraxes communicate by ‘singing’. Males often blend a range of varying sounds together which they sing in short bursts. The specific order of sounds which are used suggests that this is a language which relies on syntax. What’s more remarkable is that the songs even come with regional dialects.

Special Feet

The rock hyrax has unique feet. Their feet have padding which secretes moisture that helps assist them to grip on a variety of surfaces. This padding is also unique since it can be retracted, which helps the rock hyrax to create a suction effect on their feet, to cling onto cliff faces and sheer rock walls with ease.