Animals I’d never heard of before coming to Namibia: The Hirax

These terrestrial animals are also known as a rock dassie or rock rabbit.  Unbelieveable as it may sound, the closest living relatives to hyraxes are the modern day elephants.

In this area there are two varieties of hirax–rock hirax and tree hirax. We have both on the farm. Here’s their habitat regions across Africa:
(thanks to Wikipedia for all this great information!)

 

Rock Hirax Regions

Anyway, these guys are like large guinea pics. The live in rock crevices and forage for food around the rocky area. They have incomplete thermoregulation so they usually only forage in the morning and evening, and they do this in groups.  They live in groups of 10-80 animals and they birth between 2-4 young and they are born fully formed — ready to run and hide.

Here’s a really good picture from Wikipedia:

So here are some of my pictures of them from far away. But really look closely at the pictures–I caught one leaping mid-air (you may have to enlarge the pictures to see him!)

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Oh and if you want a weird tidbit of information: Rock hyraxes are classified as non-kosher in the Old Testament/Jewish Torah. 🙂

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