Hyrax – a great name for a lovely animal

One of my favourite animals is one that I did not come across until recent years. The reason for this was simply that I seldom went to the sorts of places where it likes to live. This lovely animal is the Rock Hyrax or Rock Dassie. It’s latin name is Procavia capensis.

The Rock Dassie or Rock Hyrax.

The Rock Dassie or Rock Hyrax.


Dassies are quite sociable animals and live in colonies which may be up to a few hundred in number. The colony may also have as few as four individuals. The species is widespread in southern Africa, but I have only ever seen them on the mid southern coast.

They are highly entertaining to watch, being wary of humans but not necessarily bothered by them (unless of course one goes too close). They make great subjects for photos, as they frequently stop to sit in the sun. I also think their white eyebrows and smallish ears give them a rather comical expression.

What do you think? Would they rate as a favourite with you if you went to Southern Africa or would you prefer to watch more ‘exciting’ wild animals?

Sitting on a sunny doorstep.

Sitting on a sunny doorstep watching the world go by.

(This post is part of a series on African animals that I have watched and photographed on my various trips. For similar posts, please use the Wildlife > Africa menu at the top of this page.)

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10 Responses to Hyrax – a great name for a lovely animal

  1. scrapydo says:

    I remember when I was much younger that there were many dassies in and between rocks in the mountains . Are there still some in the wild? Haven’t seen many lately. They are quite

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    • Madoqua says:

      Scrapydo, I lost the last part of your comment?
      Where I grew up, we never saw a Dassie – so they must not have lived in that part of the Cape. I took these photos in the summer of 2007. The colony was near the beach in the Tsitsikamma National Park (between Port Elizabeth and Knysna).

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  2. twoscamps says:

    Now these critters make me smile:-D. What adventures you have had!

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  3. Ian Fraser says:

    I love hyraxes – thank you! The best place I found for them was at Augrabies Falls NP, where there was an active colony of them in the campground, including relaxing on the communal brai plate (not in use…).

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