rock damman

Procavia capensis

Common name

rock damman


They are generally found in arid habitats of savannahs, scrub forests and deserts, where they occupy rocky environments, such as Kopjes, that have a certain vegetation cover and where there are cracks and cavities that they use as shelter. Although they do not dig burrows, they can occupy abandoned burrows, such as those of oricteropos or those of meerkats.








From 212 to 240 days.

Number of offspring





Includes a wide variety of herbs and shrubs, they prefer shoots, buds, fruits and berries, occasionally they also feed on tree bark.


About 12 years old.

Biology and behavior

Rock hyraxes are territorial animals. Males and females are the same size and do not weigh more than 4 kg. They are diurnal animals and usually live in colonies that range from 4 to 8 individuals, but when the young are born, there can even be about 25 animals in the entire colony.

The colonies are hierarchical, where a male and a female are dominant. Four types of males can be differentiated in a colony: the territorial ones (which are the most dominant and aggressive, favoring them in copulation with receptive females), the peripheral ones (they are those who are below the dominant ones and take advantage of any carelessness of the dominant one). to be able to mate with females), the dispersers (they are the youngest males that leave their birthplace when they have already matured sexually at 16 or 24 months of age) and the late ones (they leave the birth group a year later than the dispersed).

In general, these animals are very inactive, which allows them to survive in very dry, water-poor areas, where the abundance of their food is quite scarce. Although they are herbivores, they are not ruminants, and their kidneys are efficient enough to allow them to survive on very little water. Their urine is very concentrated (it has high amounts of electrolytes, urea and calcium carbonate).


Although very different morphologically, hyraxes (order Hyracoidea) and elephants (order Proboscidea) are closely related evolutionarily. Together with manatees and dugongs (order Sirenia) they form the Paenungulata clade, one of the two that make up the superorder Afrotheria, which includes mammals whose evolutionary origin took place on the African continent.

Because they usually always urinate in the same place, calcium carbonate crystals accumulate in these rocks. These crystals were used by African tribes to cure different diseases such as epilepsy or hysteria.

African savanna
Equatorial jungle
Madagascar Island