Tree Hyrax

Tree Hyrax feeding on tree
Tree Hyrax. Photo: Walter Kitundu

Western Tree Hyrax, Dendrohyrax dorsalis, is a small stocky animal resembling a bigger Guinea-pig. The Nigerian subspecies, D. d. sylvestris is called Ofafa in Yoruba. Like elephants they have similar footpads and toenails, there are also skeletal similarities. Unlike more highly-evolved mammals, hyraxes are unable to completely regulate their body temperatures. They are found in southern part of Nigeria, and other forest areas forming a band across mid-Africa extending from the eastern to the western coast. A large population of this species may be found in Idanre Hills. They are nocturnal and they are either solitary or live in small groups. Adult body mass averages 3.17 kg and body length is between 30 and 75 centimeters and animal has very short tail.

Hyraxes have enlarged incisors, which are very rodent-like. They are herbivores that feed on a variety of grasses, shrubs, fruits, and berries. After a gestation period of 6.5 – 7.5 months (rather long for its size), 1 – 2 young hyraxes are born that may live for some 5.5 years.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer