Dassies, also known as rock hyraxes (Procavia capensis), are small, furry mammals that are found throughout much of Africa, including on Table Mountain in Cape Town. They are sometimes referred to as “rock rabbits” or “rock badgers” due to their appearance and behavior.
Dassies are well adapted to living in rocky terrain, using their sharp claws to climb and scramble over rough surfaces. They are social animals that live in groups, which can range in size from a few individuals to dozens or more. They are primarily herbivorous, feeding on a variety of plant materials, including grasses, leaves, and bark.
Despite their small size, dassies are known for their unusual physiology. They have a complex digestive system that allows them to extract nutrients from tough plant material, and they are able to regulate their body temperature in extreme heat by excreting a special type of urine that helps to cool them down.
Dassies are an important part of the ecosystem on Table Mountain and other rocky areas, serving as a food-chain source for predators such as eagles, caracals, and snakes. They are also considered to be keystone species, playing a role in maintaining the balance of local ecosystems through their feeding and behavior.
Overall, dassies are fascinating animals that are well adapted to life in rocky habitats, and they are an important part of the natural heritage of the Western Cape (WC) region of South Africa.