SOUTHERN TREE HYRAX – Dendrohyrax arboreus


Southern tree hyrax facts: From head to hind end, the southern tree hyrax is anywhere from 12.5 to 24 inches (32 to 60 centimeters) long and weighs 3.7 to 9.9 pounds (1.7 to 4.5 kilograms). The soft coat is made of long, dark brown hair.

Geographic range: Southern tree hyraxes are distributed throughout South Africa.

Southern tree hyrax habitat: They live in evergreen forests up to 13,500 feet (4,500 meters), and among boulders in the Ruwenzori Mountains.

What does southern tree hyrax eat: Tree hyraxes eat leaves, twigs, and fruit year-round.

Behavior and reproduction: Southern tree hyraxes spend daylight hours nestled in the hollows of trees and venture out only in the safety of the night. More often heard than seen, the male tree hyrax emits shrill shrieks in order to claim his territory, and as an effort to keep in contact with his family throughout the night.

Southern tree hyraxes are very good climbers but are awkward on the ground.

Not much is known about the reproductive behavior and cycle of the tree hyrax. Gestation lasts from 220 to 240 days, and each pregnancy yields one to two babies. Babies are competent tree climbers by the end of their first day. Southern tree hyraxes live at least ten years.

Southern tree hyraxes and people: Some African people eat the southern tree hyrax and use the skin to make rugs and clothing. They are also used as medicine. Southern tree hyraxes play important roles in African spiritual traditions as well.

Conservation status: Southern tree hyraxes are not threatened.