Procavia capensis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Procavia capensis
Species Authority: (Pallas, 1766)
Common Name(s):
English Rock Hyrax, Rock Dassie
French Daman De Rocher
Heterohyrax antineae Heim de Balsac & Bégouen, 1932
Taxonomic Notes: This taxon is sometimes split into several separate species, including Cape Hyrax P. capensis, Abyssinian Hyrax P. habessinica, Johnston’s Hyrax P. johnstoni, and Western Hyrax P. ruficeps (Hahn 1934, Kingdon 1971). It is here regarded as monotypic, following more recent classifications (Schlitter 1993, Shoshani 2005, Hoeck and Bloomer in press).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Barry, R., Bloomer, P., Hoeck, H. & Shoshani, H. (IUCN SSC Afrotheria Specialist Group)
Reviewer(s): Rathbun, G. (Afrotheria Red List Authority) & Hoffmann, M. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, its occurrence in a number of protected areas, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
2006 Least Concern (IUCN 2006)
2006 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The species is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa and north-east Africa, being discontunously distributed from Senegal through southern Algeria (isolated population), Libya and Egypt (east of the Nile R.) to central and southern Africa (excluding the Congo Basin forests) (Olds and Shoshani 1982; Hoeck and Bloomer in press). They also extend to the Arabian Peninsula, mainly in the west, and to Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel (Olds and Shoshani 1982; Harrison and Bates 1991; Shoshani 2005). Reports of the occurrence of this species in Turkey are in error, and there is no evidence for its current or historical occurrence in this country (Kryštufek and Vohralík 2001). Its occurrence in Syria also has not been confirmed (D. Kock pers. comm.).
Algeria; Angola (Angola); Benin; Botswana; Cameroon; Chad; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Egypt; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Israel; Jordan; Kenya; Lebanon; Lesotho; Libya; Mauritania; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Oman; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Widespread and abundant in drier rocky areas of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. In some areas, such as in Matopos in Zimbabwe and the Serengeti of Tanzania (where they have been well studied) they are characterised by extreme local population fluctuations (Hoeck and Bloomer in press). On Mount Kenya, where they are considered among the most conspicuous of mammals, average density has been estimated at between 20 and 100 animals per km² (Young and Evans 1993).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Rock Hyraxes occupy a wide range of habitats, from arid deserts to rainforest, occurring from sea level to 4,300 m on Mount Kenya; they are typically associated with rocky outcrops, cliffs or boulders (Hoeck and Bloomer in press). They often occur in association with Bush Hyrax Heterohyrax brucei (Hoeck 1975; Barry and Mundy 1988). The diet comprises a variety of grasses, forbs and shrubs, with a predilection for new shoots, buds, fruits and berries (Hoeck and Bloomer in press). A comprehensive review of biology and literature is found in Olds and Shoshani (1982) and Hoeck and Bloomer (in press).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The Rock Hyrax is snared for skins and meat.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to this species. However, it is hunted locally, and may have been extirpated in some smaller localities. In Israel, where the species is protected by law and has few natural enemies, their numbers have grown in cultivated areas resulting in damage to crops and necessitating effective control measures being put in
place (e.g., electric fences) (Mendelssogn and Yom-Tov 1999).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species occurs in many protected areas across its range.

Bibliography [top]

Boitani, L. 1998. African Mammals Databank - A Databank for the Conservation and Management of the African Mammals. Report to the Directorate-General for Development of the European Commission, Bruxelles.

Bothma, J. du P. 1971. Order Hyracoidea. In: J. Meester and H. H. Setzer (eds), The Mammals of Africa: An Identification Manual, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Harrison, D.L. and Bates, P.J.J. 1991. The Mammals of Arabia. Harrison Zoological Museum, Sevenoaks, UK.

Hoeck, H.N. 1975. Differential feeding behacior of the sympatric hyrax Procavia johnstoni and Heterohyrax brucei. Oecologia 22: 15-49.

Hoeck, H.N., Klein, H. and Hoeck, P. 1982. Flexible social organization in hyrax. Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie 59: 265-298.

Kingdon, J. 1997. The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. Academic Press Natural World, San Diego, California, USA.

Kryštufek, B. and Vohralík, V. 2001. Mammals of Turkey and Cyprus. Zgodovinsko drustvo za juzno Primorsko, Koper, Slovenia.

Mendelssohn, H. and Yom-Tov, Y. 1999. Mammalia of Israel. The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Jerusalem.

Olds, N. and Shoshani, J. 1982. Procavia capensis. Mammalian Species 171: 1-7.

Skinner, J.D. and Chimimba, C.T. (eds). 2005. The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion. Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom., Cambridge.

Citation: Barry, R., Bloomer, P., Hoeck, H. & Shoshani, H. (IUCN SSC Afrotheria Specialist Group) 2008. Procavia capensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 24 May 2015.
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