1 minute read

Hyraxes: Hyracoidea

Behavior And Reproduction

Rock and bush hyraxes are active during daylight hours and tend to live in groups whereas tree hyraxes are nocturnal, active at night, and prefer to live on their own. The social unit of the rock and bush hyraxes includes one adult male and about seventeen adult females, with their young. Though solitary, tree hyraxes have been found in groups of two or three. In this group, too, there is a hierarchy, rank structure, and the male is at the top.

Hyraxes mate once a year. Gestation, pregnancy, lasts twenty-six to thirty weeks, and the number of babies per female ranges from one to four. Mothers suckle only their own babies, and the young stop nursing anywhere from one to five months. Both sexes are ready to mate between sixteen and seventeen months of age. At this time, females join the adult female group while males take off on their own. Adult females live longer than adult males and may reach eleven years or more.

Young hyraxes are playful, with normal behavior including biting, climbing, chasing, and fighting.


Although the hyrax resembles a rabbit or guinea pig, it is actually closely related to elephants and other hoofed animals. Its anatomy is like an elephant and a horse. Its brain is like an elephant's while the stomach is like a horse's. It has a skeleton similar to that of a rhinoceros, and its upper incisors, chisel-shaped teeth at the front of the mouth, look like those found on rodents. The upper cheek teeth are like those of a rhinoceros and the lower cheek teeth are similar to those of a hippopotamus.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsHyraxes: Hyracoidea - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Southern Tree Hyrax (dendrohyrax Arboreus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET, HYRAXES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS