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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 16:09 EDT

Yellow-spotted Rock Hyrax, Heterohyrax brucei

Image Credit: Photos.com

The yellow-spotted rock hyrax (Heterohyrax brucei) is also known as the bush hyrax. It is a mammal that can be found in dry, savannah areas as well as rocky habitats. Its range includes Burundi, Botswana, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, southern Egypt, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, and many other areas in Africa. Even with its large range, the yellow-spotted rock hyrax is not found outside of Africa. It is the only species in the genus Heterohyrax, but it has twenty-five distinct subspecies. The status of the yellow-spotted rock hyrax is of least concern.

The yellow-spotted rock hyrax is small, weighing an average of 5.4 pounds. The average body length of this hyrax is between 12 inches and 14.9 inches. The fur of this hyrax is short and rough. The yellow-spotted hyrax is equipped with specialized feet that allow it to maneuver slippery rocks. The structure of the foot allows for a suction-cup like effect, giving the hyrax effective traction in its terrain.

Being sociable creatures, the yellow-spotted rock hyrax will live in colonial groups of up to hundreds of hyrax. They are known to play with other colony members, but they are aggressive with anything that attacks. Always aware of what is going on around them, hyrax will let out a loud scream when they are in danger. Predators of this mammal include birds of prey, mongoose, leopards, and rock pythons. It eats insects, fruits, leaves, herbs, small grasses, bird eggs, lizards, and sometimes humans when food is limited.

April to June is the breeding season of the yellow-spotted rock hyrax, and pregnancy lasts seven and a half months. Typically, they will have one to four babies who are able to follow their mother around only hours after birth. Yellow-spotted hyrax is capable of living for fourteen years in the wild.

Yellow-spotted Rock Hyrax Heterohyrax brucei