Description: Rock hyraxes (also known as Rock – dassies) are brownish gray on the top side and more creamy in color underneath. They resemble a large guinea pig or a rabbit with rounded ears and no tail.
Size: Head and body length of the Rock hyrax ranges from 12-21 inches (31-53 cm ) and average weight is 8-9 pounds (3.6-4 kg).
Behavior: Rock hyraxes are predominantly diurnal, social animals that live in small to large (perhaps as many as 50) groups. Due to poor thermoregulation, hyraxes spend much time sunning in order to keep warm. They hide among boulders and in rock crevices. Sweat glands and muscles make the rubber-like bottoms of their feet function like suction cups, helping them climb and grip rock surfaces. The toes are stumpy with hoof- like nails (four toes on the front feet and three toes on the back feet).
Diet: Rock hyraxes are vegetarians but will also eat insects and grubs.
Senses: The Rock hyrax has excellent eyesight. Eye shape is unique in that the iris extends out above the pupil, enabling the hyrax to look more directly into the sun to watch for birds of prey by cutting off light that shines directly above its head.
Communication: Adults have more than 20 vocalizations that allows communication with their young and other group members. An alarm call signals when danger is approaching.
Reproduction: Sexual maturity is reached at 16-17 months of age. Females give birth in a protected rocky crevice to an average of one to three young, after a gestation period of 205 -245 days. At birth, the eyes are open and the young are covered with hair.
Habitat/range: Rock hyraxes live in rocky, scrub- covered habitats where sheltered areas are plentiful. More prevalent in Africa but also found in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and Libya.
Status: IUCN Least Concern (LC).