Rock Dassie


Rock Dassie - now known as Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis)


What is a Dassie?
The Dassie - now known as the Rock Hyrax is a medium-sized terrestrial mammal native to Africa and the Middle East. It is the African elephant's closest living relative, in spite of the size difference. This close evolutionary relationship is deduced from similarities in the structure of the feet and teeth.


What do Dassies eat?
The Rock Hyrax feeds on vegetation matter. It is a mixed feeder, but prefers grass when available during rainy seasons. However, during dry periods, it will consume any plant material available. Plants considered highly toxic and aromatic, mosses and liver-worts can be utilized by dassies during periods of drought stress.

©Nigel Dennis


Young are born during early summer after a gestation period of seven months. Some females can conceive before they are a year old. Litters normally vary from two to three young. One dominant male monopolises up to 17 females in a harem group. Solitary mature males live on the periphery of such harems.


Rock Hyrax like basking in the sun on large rocks, particularly during mornings and late afternoons. Rock Hyrax are heavily prayed upon by eagles, Caracal and Leopard.

Where Rock Dassie Are Found

As indicated by the vernacular name, Rock Dassie preferred habitat is rocky area's throughout Southern Africa. Rock Hyrax are agile tree dwellers where large trees occur near cliff faces.

©Karl Svendsen

Vital Statistics

Latin Name
Procavia Capensis
Weight (Female)
2,5 - 4,2 kg
Weight (Male)
3,2 - 4,7 kg
Length (Female)
55 cm
Length (Male)
55 cm
Gestation Period
8 months
No of Young
1 - 6
Sexual Maturity
17 months
Birth Weight
165 - 230 g
1 - 6 young are born in September/October and March - April after a gestation period of ± 7 months.

Spoor Description

Has 4 toes on the front feet and 3 toes on the hind-feet. The toes all have nails, except the inner toe of the hind-foot, which has a curved grooming claw. The soles of the feet are naked, the skin thick and padded with glandular tissue which keeps the surface permanently moist to increase traction. This enables it to negotiate steep and smooth rock faces or to climb trees with agility.
Kruger National Park - South African Safari