The Hyrax

The hyrax is one of the most interesting small mammals in the world. This is because of its looks, unique habitat, amazing behavior, and interesting features.

The hyrax looks like a rabbit mixed with rat features. Its upper teeth are long and curved like a rodent’s. This amazing creature is 12-22 inches long with a short stump of a tail. It weighs about 6.5 pounds. The Brown Yellow color of this small mammal helps them hide from prey.

Different types of hyrax live in different places. All hyrax live in deserts and hills in central, southern, and Middle Eastern Africa. Rock hyrax live near rocks while bush hyrax live in the savanna. It has trouble maintaining body temperature so it huddles together, basks in the sun, and seeks shelter for warmth. They search for cliffs and boulders with holes in them to make a home.

By working together hyraxes survive. They huddle together and sunbathe to keep warm. This amazing mammal can eat the toughest plants and can survive on very little water. All hyrax can climb trees. This small mammal can run fast on rugged terrain. Also, when a hyrax is excited the yellow hairs that form a circle on its back stiffen.

The hyrax is a very interesting mammal. The hyrax’s scientific order is: Hyracoidea. Scientists think it may be related to elephants but are not sure so they put it in a group of odd ball animals. This is unusual because it is the size of a rodent. There are also 14 species of this small mammal. Hyraxes appeared in Africa about 55millon years ago. They are herbivorous but also eat insects.

This 55millon year old rodent and possible relation to the elephant would be an amazing find in a safari to Africa.

by Chris D.

picture from Wikipedia

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