Tree hyrax

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Tree hyraxes[1]
Western tree hyrax, Dendrohyrax dorsalis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Eutheria
Superorder: Afrotheria
Order: Hyracoidea
Family: Procaviidae
Genus: Dendrohyrax
Gray, 1868

The tree hyraxes or tree dassies are the three species in the genus Dendrohyrax. They are mammals in the family Procaviidae (the only living family within the order Hyracoidea). The three species are:

The tree hyrax is a small nocturnal mammal that is distantly related to elephants and sea cows. They have 4-toed front feet and 3-toed back feet with rounded nails, and rubbery soles that help them climb.[5]

Colouring: Dependent on geographical location, their soft dense coats can range from a pale gray to light or dark brown. The variation is consistent with evolutionary development to aid with camouflage, so that in wetter regions with more verdant and abundant vegetation they are darker, and in more arid areas their colouring is lighter.

Territorial call: The male has a distinctive territorial call that starts with a series of loud measured cracking sounds, sometimes compared to 'a huge gate with rusted hinges being forced open'. This is then followed by a series of 'unearthly screams', ending in a descending series of expiring shrieks. Females also call, but lack the air pouches and enlarged larynx of the male, producing only a feeble imitation. On average there are two peak calling periods per night. Times vary, but the first period is often 2 –3 hours after dark, and the second at some point after midnight.[5] In Western Africa, in countries such as Ghana, calls vary slightly, becoming easily mistaken for a catfight.

Rarity: Despite being more common than its cousin the rock hyrax, the tree hyrax is much more difficult to spot, as it is both nocturnal and extremely shy (it becomes even more difficult in arid countries, as it becomes too dark too see very quickly). Often a combination of luck and a very powerful torch is required.


  1. ^ Shoshani, J. (2005). Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M., eds. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 87–88. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ Butynski, T.; Hoeck, H. & de Jong, Y.A. (2015). "Dendrohyrax arboreus". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2015: e.T6409A21282806. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T6409A21282806.en. Retrieved 27 May 2018. 
  3. ^ Hoeck, H.; Rovero, F.; Cordeiro, N.; Butynski, T.; Perkin, A.; Jones, T. (2015). "Dendrohyrax validus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2015: e.T136599A21288090. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T136599A21288090.en. Retrieved 27 May 2018. 
  4. ^ Butynski, T.; Dowsett-Lemaire, F.; Hoeck, H. (2015). "Dendrohyrax dorsalis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2015: e.T6410A21282601. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T6410A21282601.en. Retrieved 27 May 2018. 
  5. ^ a b Estes, Richard D. (1999). The Safari Companion. Chelsea Green Publishing Company. ISBN 1-890132-44-6.