Rock hyraxes pee and poop in areas called latrines. Over time, the contents eventually congeal into a large, sticky, solid mass that has been used to treat epilepsy and convulsions in humans.
Hide and seek
Being able to hide from predators is a top priority for rock hyraxes. They like to take cover in rock crevices and cavities and, although they don’t dig their own burrows, they do use burrows abandoned by aardvarks and meerkats. When travelling between habitats, rock hyraxes try to stay in areas that offer cover and protection from leopards, snakes, eagles, owls and African wild dogs.
Rock hyraxes can feed really quickly and entire colonies of up to 80 individuals spend less than an hour a day eating. Two meals of about 20 minutes each – one about three hours after sunrise and the other about two hours before sunset – keep their tummies full for the day.
Rock hyraxes are born with their eyes fully open and with a complete coat of hair. They are quite large and well developed at birth and by the time they are two days old, they can jump. By their third or fourth day, babies can eat food and at two weeks old they start eating solids. Rock hyraxes may look quite grown up when they are born, but young do not reach adult size and weight until they are about three years old.
At a Glance
3.8 kg (8.4 lb)
Rocky outcrops, cliffs or boulders in deserts, savannahs and scrub forests of Sub-Saharan and Northeast Africa.
Grasses make up most of rock hyraxes’ diet, but they also like new shoots, buds, fruits and berries when conditions are moist.