Dassies, Rock rabbits, Rock hyrax, Cape hyrax or Klipdas.

Rock hyrax (Procavia capensis).

Now here is a dilemma for you… according to the experts and all the books, the closest living relative of the Dassie is the .. wait for it… ELEPHANT…

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Do they even look alike.? One is 4 kg in weight and the other up to 6000 kg. A big Dassie may reach 0.3 of a metre in height and the other 4 metres…

But seeing as the experts say it is I wont argue… they are found all over South Africa and almost over all of Africa south of the Sahara… A few interesting facts….

  • The forage and feed off grass and leaves. (Vegetarians)
  • They have been known to eat insects and grubs. (Not so vegetarians)
  • They will forage up to 50 metres from their homes.
  • They climb trees, and have been found eating fruit from trees.
  • They have a sentry system and when warned hurry quickly back to their refuge.
  • They even have a toilet, where the whole herd will do their business. That herd can be as big as 80 individuals.
  • And they will even take up residence next to the sea, and that is where I photographed this herd, catching a tan. (some one should tell them they need to undress to catch a tan..

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62 thoughts on “Dassies, Rock rabbits, Rock hyrax, Cape hyrax or Klipdas.

  1. Hi there, I’m trying to find your first name anywhere … maybe it’s a matter of national security????!!!
    I hate to not know .. the name of people I’m writting to.

  2. Of course! I can see the resemblance! Ha ha. But seriously, the explanation given by happy hugger makes sense (a little bit). Thanks for a very interesting post, Bulldog. (Do you really want us to call you that? I saw that someone called you Rob. Which do you prefer?)

    • Thank you.. yes there are a few different sites giving the technical reason why they are the closest to each other.. it still remains an anomaly I have trouble getting my head around…
      Bulldog was a nickname I got when I started junior school 55 odd years ago.. it has remained with me since then.. and has now become our new business name… Bulldogs Turf Solutions… but my name is Rob and is far easier to type, so I don’t mind either…

      • Okay, that’s good to know. For business it’s a good name. Tenacious. But for a personal name, unless it’s used with friendly intentions, it can sound kind of mean, so I wanted to be sure.

  3. Fantastic shots! They are virtually the same colours as the rocks so I’d see why they would lie there 😉

    it’s amazing that these two species are related – I never would have guessed….

    • They are actually very cute… my eldest daughter had one as a pet whilst growing up… we had an empty coffee tin in the corner of the room and it did all its ablutions in that tin… it was very like a cat in the house… loved attention and a head rub…

  4. It’s a head scratcher but at least we know what he’s thinking, lol, great shots and info on yet another interesting animal I have never heard of!

    • So true, I did do a bit more research into it and found the statement I placed in answer to some of the other comments… it made me none the wiser but its to do with the social structures, genes and originally they were placed in the same specie type group… all very technical I’m afraid… but I’ll just accept the experts word for it…

    • Thanks Robyn and love back to you… it is difficult to believe but the explination is given thus…”This is true to a certain extent, but misleading since the relationship stems from a remote ancestor common to hyraxes, sea cows (dugongs and manatees) and elephants. These three are unlike other mammals, but they share various if disproportionate physiological similarities in teeth, leg and foot bones, testes (that do not descend into a scrotum) and other more obscure details.”

    • It’s definitely takes a lot of additions to get them together… thanks but a explination is given by an expert and it reads thus…”This is true to a certain extent, but misleading since the relationship stems from a remote ancestor common to hyraxes, sea cows (dugongs and manatees) and elephants. These three are unlike other mammals, but they share various if disproportionate physiological similarities in teeth, leg and foot bones, testes (that do not descend into a scrotum) and other more obscure details.”

  5. Okay, I almost hate to say this, but they are so CUTE! But the link to an elephant is mind boggling. Is there that much DNA in common? Did they trace the link, really? I have to wonder. Nature is amazing. Love these photos so much.

    • Well one explanation is given thus..”This is true to a certain extent, but misleading since the relationship stems from a remote ancestor common to hyraxes, sea cows (dugongs and manatees) and elephants. These three are unlike other mammals, but they share various if disproportionate physiological similarities in teeth, leg and foot bones, testes (that do not descend into a scrotum) and other more obscure details.” does that make them family.??? I’m not sure…

      • Interesting! Family or the genus “family” – sometimes in both cases do their members barely resemble one another.

  6. Brilliant … love your comments to the photos – cute creature! And thanks for all the facts about it – it’s like BBC nature … this. Great job.

    • I remember them well from the Cape… and especially where I’m going next week… the Kalahari… hopefully I get a good photo of a verreauxs eagle catching one down at Augrabies falls…

    • here is the explination given on one of the tech sites.”This is true to a certain extent, but misleading since the relationship stems from a remote ancestor common to hyraxes, sea cows (dugongs and manatees) and elephants. These three are unlike other mammals, but they share various if disproportionate physiological similarities in teeth, leg and foot bones, testes (that do not descend into a scrotum) and other more obscure details.” how this makes them the closest living animal to each other.?.. still confuses me..

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