Dendrohyrax – Tree hyraxes

These timid hyraxes are active at night when their loud territorial call can be heard from a distance

Tree hyraxes are fascinating small mammals that resemble Guinea pigs or rodents. Despite their diminutive size, these creatures possess unique characteristics that distinguish them within the animal kingdom.

One of the most notable features of tree hyraxes is their thick, soft fur, which covers their entire body and varies in color from gray to brown. This fur not only provides insulation but also serves as camouflage, helping them blend seamlessly into their forest habitats. Their innocent eyes, small ears, and short legs contribute to their endearing appearance, making them a favorite among wildlife enthusiasts.

Tree hyraxes are predominantly arboreal creatures, inhabiting forests with dense tree cover where they can find ample shelter and food sources. They have a particular affinity for den trees with cavity entrances, which they utilize for resting and sleeping. These natural cavities provide protection from predators and adverse weather conditions, allowing tree hyraxes to thrive in their woodland habitats.

As nocturnal animals, tree hyraxes are most active during the cover of darkness, venturing out of their dens to forage for food under the cloak of night. Their diet primarily consists of leaves, fruits, and tender shoots, which they consume with their specialized teeth adapted for grinding plant material. Despite their small size, tree hyraxes have a surprisingly slow metabolism, allowing them to conserve energy and minimize the need for frequent feeding.

Spotting tree hyraxes during the day can be a challenging task due to their nocturnal habits and preference for hiding in dense foliage. However, keen observers may catch glimpses of these elusive creatures as they move about their forest homes under the cover of darkness.

Remarkably, species within the genus Dendrohyrax have been known to live for more than ten years in the wild, a remarkable feat considering their small stature and the inherent challenges of survival in their natural environment.