Hyraxes are small herbivores. Appearance-set, they are rotund, well-furred and short-tailed. Their features have often been compared to pikas as well as marmots. However, it is amusing to note that hyraxes aren’t close relatives of either species. Instead, their closest relatives are actually elephants and manatees, which is a source of much amusement.
Currently, there are five species of hyraxes – the rock hyrax, the yellow-spotted rock hyrax, the western tree hyrax, the southern tree hyrax and the eastern tree hyrax. The rock hyrax is a native of both Africa and the Middle East. It lives in a wide range of places, which in turn means that it shows a wide range of activity patterns. This is because rock hyraxes have incomplete thermoregulation, meaning that they need to consider their environment.
Habitat-wise, rock hyraxes like to live in a place with plenty of rock crevices, thus enabling them to evade their predators. However, that isn’t their sole trick for ensuring their survival. Instead, it is important to note that rock hyraxes can be quite social, thus enabling them to reap benefits that aren’t available to solitary animals. One excellent example would be having some members of the same social group serve as sentries, which boost everyone’s chances of survival by sending out the call when predators show up.
On the whole, rock hyraxes seem to have been quite successful. After all, they are not endangered in most of their range, which runs from West Africa to East Africa while also covering a considerable part of South Africa. Their prominence speaks of considerable adaptability, particularly since they are sometimes seen as pests by their human neighbors.