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Baby Rock Hyrax at play

Baby Rock Hyrax at play

All hyraxes live throughout most of Africa, but rock hyraxes are also found along the coast of the Arabian Peninsula up to Lebanon. As their name implies, they hang out in areas where there are boulders, rock formations, or even little nooks on sheer cliffs that provide shelter and protection. Their homes are easy to identify as hyrax abodes, as the animals’ urine crystalizes and looks like white patches on the rocks.

Hyrax feet are built for rock climbing: the bottom of each foot is bare and has a moist, rubbery pad that lifts up in the center for a suction-cup effect to help the hyrax cling to rocks and other smooth surfaces without slipping. They can even “chimney” up and down tight spaces.

Rock hyraxes live up to the expression “safety in numbers.” They may live in colonies of up to 50 individuals, sharing sleeping areas and looking for food together. Each day starts with a group sunbathing session for several hours. Once warmed up, they head out for a short period of feeding. Rock hyraxes do not like cool or rainy weather and won’t even come out of their rock shelter if the weather is not to their liking.

Although diurnal, they may venture out on moonlit nights. They spend most of the time, however, doing nothing; only about five percent of their time is spent in active pursuits.

In some parts of Africa, bush hyraxes often live in the same rocky areas as rock hyraxes. The two species may share shelter holes and huddle together to warm up in the morning. Their young even play together! Although they have very different breeding behaviors, rock hyraxes and bush hyraxes seem to understand each other. There are very few cases of mammal species living so closely together.

There is one male for every five to seven females that patrols a certain territory within his colony. When babies, called pups, are born, usually around the same time once each year, the entire colony greets and sniffs the young ones. The pups are amazingly precocial, born with their eyes and ears open. They look like miniature adults and have the same luxuriant coat.

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Photo prise le 17 septembre 2012 (© Steve Wilson - over 9 million views Thanks !! / Flickr)

Voir aussi :
 nikon, d7000, nikon d7000, chester zoo, zoo, animal, nature, wildlife, hyrax, rock hyrax, africa, african, arabia, baby, young, playing

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