Rock Hyraxes are very social animals living in colonies of up to 50 individuals. They prefer to live on rocky outcrops and are very well-adapted climbers. Within a family unit, there may be a dominant male, a subordinate male and several breeding females with their offspring.
Hyrax have strong molars which are used to grind vegetation, just like an elephant. They also have two large incisor teeth which are sometimes visible, making them a smaller version of elephant tusks.
Distribution: Rocky outcrops across a number of habitat types, including arid desert and rainforest, in sub-Saharan Africa, northeast Africa and the Arabian peninsula.
Diet in the Wild: Grasses, shrubs, fruits, berries
Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Oats, grain, greens and varied fruits and vegetables
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern, population stable
Despite their looks, rock hyraxes are genetically more closely related to modern day elephants than they are to rodents.
Rock hyraxes have a three-chambered stomach filled with symbiotic bacteria. These bacteria help them break down the leaves and grasses that comprise their diet.
Hyraxes have foot pads that secrete a sticky liquid and form a suction cup on smooth surfaces. These adaptations allow them to scale steep, smooth rock faces with ease.