Rock Dassie / Hyrax (Procavia capensis)

Rock Dassie (Procavia capensis) Silhouette

Quick stats of the Rock Dassie / Hyrax

  • Diet: - Herbivore
  • Shoulder Height: - 0.43 m
  • Weight: - Male - 14 kg
  • Weight: - Female - 14 kg
  • Lifespan - 10 years


Rock Dassie © Toursa

The dassie can be found living in caves or crevices in mountainous or rocky areas and have excellent climbing abilities. They are often sighted basking in the sun alone or in colonies of up to 50.

The name "dassie" comes from the Dutch name "dasje" meaning badger. They are dark in colour and have have a patch of long black hair growing over the dorsal gland on their back.

Dassies eat during the cooler parts of the day, usually the early morning and late afternoon. The colony spends its time resting in the sun during the rest of the day. One of the adult dassies, normally a female, will keep a lookout for potential predators. When threatened, she will let out a sharp Rock Dassie © Toursaalarm to warn the rest of the colony - who run to the nearest crevice or cave.

Dassies are preyed upon by lions, jackals, leopard, and the black eagle. The eagle attack from the sun, making use of the sun’s blinding light. The dassie, however, have a special membrane on the eye which shields it from the light - allowing the dassie to look directly into the sun. When the dassie sees the enemy, it shows its long sharp teeth and raises the hair on its dorsal glands - becoming an extremely vicious creature.

The female dassie has a gestation period of 225 days, after which they give birth to 1 - 6 young.

Other Names for the Rock Dassie / Hyrax

  • Cape Hyrax
  • Rock Hyrax


Distribution map of the Rock Dassie / Hyrax
Distribution map of the Rock Dassie / Hyrax

Taxonomy of the Rock Dassie / Hyrax

  • Order - Artiodactyla
  • Family - Bovidae
  • Sub Family - Cephalophinae
  • Genus - Cephalophus
  • Species - Cephalophus natalensis

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