Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis)

Cape Hyrax, Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis)

This cute creature is called Cape Hyrax, or Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis). It looks a little bit like a guinea pig with short ears and tail. They are also known as dassies in South Africa.

This animal has a bigger relative in the fauna kingdom. Who do you think?   Well… an elephant. Yes, ELEPHANT!!! Hyraxes are stated to be the closest living relatives of elephants. These small animals (most measure between about 30 and 70 cm long and weigh between 2 and 5 kg) share numerous features with elephants, such as toenails, excellent hearing, sensitive pads on their feet, small tusks-like teeth, good memory, high brain functions and others. I have to say, I really like this theory.

Rock Hyrax basking in the sun

Hyraxes retain a number of early mammal characteristics. In particular they have poorly developed internal temperature regulation. They deal with this “inconvenience” by huddling together for warmth, and by basking in the sun like this fellow on the rocks of Hermanus in South Africa.

~ by imagenature on September 12, 2007.

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