Hyrax facts: Can we have them as pets?

Did you ever think to keep hyrax at your own house? If yes, read the article and then decide.

What is it - HYRAX

Everyone knows such animal as an elephant, but it turns out there is an animal which has a lot in common with the elephant, but not all people have ever heard of it. This little animal - hyrax - a mammal which is not bigger than pet rabbit. African legend says that they are relatives. Is this possible? Could this pygmy be a relative of the largest of all land animals? Probably, it can. Scientists suppose that more than 50 million years ago, in Africa, there was an animal digging and eating tubers, in size and shape of this animal were similar to a bear. Then his descendants went to two very different ways, one has become a huge one, and the other quite small. This relationship is intuitively reflected in the local myth, according to which hyrax is a younger brother of an elephant.

Cute animal

However, there is nothing common in the behavior of elephants and hyraxes. For example, hyraxes are experienced climbers that can move around the cliffs almost upside down. Hyrax is well adapted to life in places with a sharp daily fluctuation of temperature, where the day is extremely hot, and cold snap comes at night. In addition, in places of  their permanent habitat, it is very dry and very little precipitation falls throughout the year. The body temperature of hyrax also is reduced, and it saves his energy. In Africa, if necessary, the sun always quickly warms you through and through. In fact, sunbathing - is the main procedure in the morning for hyraxes.

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The group of nice animals

Africans treat hyraxes with a great respect. Their droppings, sharply smelling musk, are carefully collected and used in folk medicine for many diseases, as well as in the local perfumery. Tincture of the litter promotes digestion and help with headaches. According to popular belief in Africa, if you well rub out this unique natural remedy, it is possible to make a lasting positive impression on a business partner, to scare away evil spirits and attract good. Urine of hyraxes is also valued. They treat ailments of nervous and mental nature.

If you decided to keep this exotic animal at home, you should get some information about the conditions of their comfortable living and about their life in the wild.

Don't you want to touch it?

Hyraxes usually live in groups up to 50 animals. And in each such group, there is a sentinel, who warns the colony of some danger crying. Being a sociable animal, hyraxes settle in family groups, which consist of several females with offspring and adult male leader. The head of the family is always busy family nest protection of borders and vigilantly monitors the safety of the family during their meal.

The device of the vocal cords of hyraxes allows them to vocalize a variety of sounds, from whistles and birds twitting, to growl, and even cries, resembling a baby crying.

Hyraxes are diurnal animals. They eat mostly leaves of trees and shrubs, as well as their fruit, but sometimes they even eat insects. Biting off pieces of the plant by lateral teeth, hyrax chews them thoroughly and then swallows. Florula which exists in their digestive tract digests well any plant food, including parts of poisonous plants.


Since the beginning of the breeding season, hyraxes mark territory with dorsal gland secretions. Pregnancy lasts for 7-8 months. The female usually brings from 1 to 3, rarely 4 cubs.

The body length of hyrax is about 45-55 cm, and the height of the counter is about 15-25 cm. Males weigh 2,3-3,3 kg, while females -2,2-2,9 kg. Their body is cambered and covered with thick soft fur. The back and sides are gray or grayish-brown. The ventral side is lighter. The thick woolen cover consists of undercoat and longer guard hairs. Legs are short, thick and strong. On the front legs, there are four fingers, on the back - three. Fingers end with flattened claws. The snout is elongated with a dark nose. Ears are medium in size and have a rounded shape. The upper lip is divided with a narrow slit into two parts. Large dark eyes are located on the sides of the head. Life expectancy of hyraxes in natural conditions is for about 12 years. In captivity, young hyraxes are easily tamed, but adults are aggressive and bite at the earliest opportunity.

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