“There are also other physical similarities between the two species,” explains Nick Davis, assistant curator of mammals at the Chester Zoo, “such as the shape of their feet and their continually growing incisors, which are reminiscent of an elephant’s tusks.” Those incisors get worn down by the tough plant material hyraxes eat – call it nature’s way of arriving at a good balance.
Rock hyraxes have moist, rubber-like pads on the soles of their feet that help them securely navigate the steep slopes, loose rocks and large boulders that typically comprise their habitat. They’re also known for their keen eyesight and again, like elephants, have what seems to be an excellent memory. As the old saying goes, “elephants never forget”… ditto for hyraxes!
As for the Chester Zoo’s furry fab four baby rock hyraxes, living in captivity may not tax either their eyesight nor their memory in the years to come… around 12 years, according to the average hyrax lifespan in ideal conditions. That handily beats The Beatles, who were only together from 1960 through 1970. (all images and info via WENN.com and Chester Zoo)