Dassies (rock hyrax)

Things you probably never knew about dassies (rock hyrax)

The rock hyrax is commonly referred to in South African English as the dassie. It is a mammal that is closely related to elephants and manatees (despite huge differences in size and appearance).

1. Rock Hyraxes spends about 95% of it’s time sun-bathing. This is to compensate for their poorly developed thermoregulation. They tend to stay in their burrows until the sun is high in the morning and may not leave their dens at all on cold, rainy days.

2. They have multi-chambered stomachs, which makes me think of cows. They have three-chambered stomachs that help break down the plants they eat.

3. They have a pair of tusks or rather long, pointed tusk-like incisors. Maybe as a result of being related to elephants and manatees. And dassies, like elephants, have flattened, hoof-like nails on the tips of their toes, rather than the curved claws seen on some other mammals.

4. Rock hyraxes have padded, sweaty feet. Rock hyrax feet have black, rubbery pads that are moistened by numerous sweat glands. The pads lift up in the center for a suction cup-like effect that helps them keep their grip on rocky surfaces.

5. And lastly, a very weird fact is that they have a smelly gland on their backs for communication and territorial marking.

What do you thing of these “dassies”?

Do you think they are rodents or cute furry animals?


  1. I had never heard of this animal before – interesting. I understand it is hunted for eating but also for being a threat to other grazing animals. I looked it up and found the threat to be overrated. I think they look cute.

    Liked by 1 person

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