Four adorable baby Rock Hyraxes have been born at Chester Zoo. The quartet of pups, one male and three female, arrived weighing between just 250g and 290g. They were born on July 14 and are yet to be named.
When Rock Hyrax pups are born, they look like miniature adults, eyes and ears open and with the same coat.
Although similar in appearance to the Guinea Pig, Rock Hyraxes are in fact more closely related to the Elephant than any other species on Earth, and they are sometimes referred to as ‘the elephant’s cousin’ as a result of a surprising genetic link.
Small mammals typically go through a short gestation period but the Rock Hyrax is different, with pregnancies lasting more than seven months: a connection to their larger relatives.
They also share physical similarities with Elephants, such as the shape of their feet, skull structure and their continually growing incisors, which are reminiscent of an Elephant’s tusks.
Rock Hyraxes in the wild live in Africa and along the Arabian Peninsula and, as their name suggests, they frequent rocky terrain, seeking shelter and protection in rugged outcrops or cliffs.
Rock Hyraxes live in colonies of two to 26 individuals and communicate with each other by make 20 different noises. They produce an episode of ‘harsh yips’ which build up to ‘grunts’ to defend their territory.
Hyraxes don’t need much water. They get most of it from their food.
Hyrax feet are built for rock climbing: the bottom of each foot is bare and has a moist, rubbery pad that provides a suction-cup effect to help the Hyrax cling to rocks without slipping.
More adorable pics, below the fold!