Home > Mammals > Hyraxes
Cape Hyrax

Cape Hyrax

Cape Hyrax

Cape Hyrax Range Map (Africa & West Asia)
Cape Hyrax Range Map (Africa & West Asia)
Latin Name Procavia capensis
Conservation Status Least Concern
Location Africa & W Asia
Colour Brown/Grey
Length 30 - 58 cm (12 - 23 inches)
Tail -
Weight 3 - 5 Kgs (6.5 - 11 lbs)
Life Expectancy

9 - 12 Yrs

Main Characteristics

Cape Hyraxes are small, solidly built animals. They have a body length between 30 and 58 cms (12 - 23 inches), a very short tail and they weigh between 3 and 5 kgs (6.5 - 11 lbs).

Their coat is brown or grey/brown in colour and they have a paler coloured underside. Their fur is generally short but they have a few longer guard hairs that are very sensitive to touch. They have a black nose, rounded ears and tusk like incisors. Their eyes are round and dark in colour with a paler coloured strip above each eye.

Cape Hyraxes have a dark brown gland on their back and on the soles of their feet they have large, soft pads which are kept moist by secretions. These pads help them grip onto and climb up the rocky surfaces of their habitat.

Cape Hyraxes spend most of their time resting either alone or in huddles. They use the heat from the sun to regulate their body temperature as it fluctuates with ambient temperature.


Cape Hyraxes are found in Africa and west Asia. They prefer savannah and grassland areas and they live in cavities in rocky outcrops and can often be found in the burrows of other animals including meerkats and aarvarks.

They live in large herd of up to 40 individuals and this is split into smaller groups of 3 - 7 related adult females. One adult male will defend a territory that will encompass the range of several groups but females are not territorial and their ranges will overlap.


The diet of a Cape Hyrax mainly consists of grass, but they also feed on fruit and invertebrates.


During the rainy season and after a gestation period of 7 - 8 months, 2 - 3 young are born. At birth the young are well developed; they are covered in fur and their eyes are fully open.

At 2 weeks old they begin to eat solid food and by 10 weeks old they are weaned. When young males reach 16 - 24 months old they will leave to find their own territory but females stay with the group.

They become sexually mature between 16 and 24 months old and they have reached their full adult size by the time they are 3 years old.


Predators of Cape Hyrax include birds of prey, leopards, african wild dogs, snakes and humans.


Subspecies of the Cape Hyrax include:

Procavia capensis bamendae
Procavia capensis capensis
Procavia capensis capillosa
Procavia capensis erlangeri
Procavia capensis habessinicus
Procavia capensis jacksoni
Procavia capensis jayakari
Procavia capensis johnstoni
Procavia capensis kerstingi
Procavia capensis mackinderi
Procavia capensis matschiei
Procavia capensis pallida
Procavia capensis ruficeps
Procavia capensis scioanus
Procavia capensis sharica
Procavia capensis syriacus
Procavia capensis welwitschii

Interesting Facts

Cape Hyrax are also known as:
Rock Hyrax
Rock Dassie
Rock Rabbits
Pelele (Swahili)
Wibari (Swahili)

Cape Hyraxes produce large quantities of hyraceum which is a sticky mass of dung and urine. This has been used by people in the treatment of several medical disorders including epilepsy and convulsions.

Males have internal testes and during the breeding season they increase in size by up to 20 times.

Hyraxes are within the group of mammals known as Afrotheria, as are elephants, elephant shrews, aardvark and dugong and manatees.

Similar Animals

Southern Tree Hyrax
Western Tree Hyrax
Yellow-Spotted Rock Hyrax


Contact         About         Glossary         Site Map         Privacy Policy

CC 2006 - 2014 theanimalfiles.com