Heterohyrax bruceihoggar hyrax(Also: yellow-spotted hyrax)

Geographic Range

The yellow-spotted hyrax occurs from South eastern Egypt to Central Angola and Northern South Africa.

Habitat

The yellow-spotted hyrax is found exclusively in rocky areas. Colonies occur on rocky kopjes, rocky hillsides, krantzes, and in piles of loose boulders. They are typically found in mountainous regions at elevations of about 3800 meters.

Physical Description

Yellow-spotten Hyrax have a coat of thick, short, coarse fur. They range from 305- 380 mm in length, and they have no external tail. They resemble a guinea pig in appearance, but they are very different from caviomorph rodents. The feet of the hyrax are specialized in ways that allow these animals to locomote easily on slick rocks. The soles of their feet are naked, and are kept moist by the secretions of specialized glands. In addition, the musculature of the foot contracts the foot into a cup like shape. The net result is a suctioncup-like effect. The hyrax can cling with remarkable power to the rocky substrates they inhabit.

  • Average mass
    2456.7 g
    86.58 oz
    AnAge
  • Average basal metabolic rate
    3.872 W
    AnAge

Reproduction

The yellow-spotted hyrax breeds at the end of the wet season (April - June). The gestation of seven and a half months produces 1-4 young. The precocious young are born in a fur lined nest, and are capable of following adults around within several hours of birth.

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
  • sexual
  • Average number of offspring
    1.9
    AnAge
  • Average gestation period
    229 days
    AnAge
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    Sex: female
    494 days
    AnAge
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    Sex: male
    494 days
    AnAge

Lifespan/Longevity

Behavior

Hyrax are colonial animals. They often engage is social play and may live in groups containing hundreds of animals. Hyrax have keen hearing and sharp eyesight. They are constantly alert and have a scream-like alarm vocalization. Hyrax are fierce fighters and will bite savagely at anything that attacks them. The attentiveness and aggressive nature of hyrax are warranted, as rock python, birds of prey, leopards, and small carnivores such as mongoose may attempt to prey upon them at any time.

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

The yellow-spotted hyrax is a generalist browser. It eats many different types of vegetation. In Zambia, a colony was reported in which individuals ate primarily the leaves of the bitter yam. This plant is typicaly used by the native in the area to make poison arrows. In Kenya, these animals have been reported to rely heavily on grasses during the wet season.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Humans eat hyrax when other food animals are scarce. The meat is reported to be tough and chewy, however, so Hyrax are eaten only when necessary.

Conservation Status

Contributors

Nancy Shefferly (author), Animal Diversity Web.

Glossary

Ethiopian

living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

endothermic

animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

mountains

This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

scrub forest

scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.

sexual

reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

tactile

uses touch to communicate

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.

savanna

A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5? N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.

References

Nowak, R.M. and J.L. Paradiso. 1983. Walker's Mammals of the World, Fourth Edition. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, London.