Extant Afrotheria


Order: Hyracoidea
Family: Procaviidae
Species: 8

The 8 extant species of Hyracoidea are all small furry hyraxes found in Africa and parts of the Middle East. Despite resembling rabbits in their size and morphology, they are actually far more closely related to primitive hoofed mammals. Hyraxes are excellent climbers. They have specialised pads on their feet which are moistened by glandular secretions. They also have an opposable toe on each back foot, enabling them to run and climb steep faces without fear of losing their footing. Hyraxes have extremely efficient kidneys which enables them to go for long periods with very little water. Their diet is also very versatile as they eat almost all kinds of vegetation. However, they have very poor temperature control and have to huddle together in close groups to keep warm.


Rock hyrax
Procavia capensis

Length: 30-58 cm
Weight: 3-5 kg
Social unit: Group
Region: South and East Africa, and West Asia
Status: Locally common


Tree hyrax
Dendrohyrax arboreus

Length: 40-70 cm
Weight: 1.5-4.5 kg
Social unit: Variable
Region: East and southern Africa
Status: Vulnerable



Author: Emma-Louise Nicholls
Last updated: 20th November 2005
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Websites produced by students on the MSc Palaeobiology programme in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol for academic year 2005-6