I Think I Might Be a Hyrax


You know how you sometimes see something on the internet that you wish you hadn’t seen?  (I’ve consciously avoided the Human Centipede and Two Girls One Cup business that I’ve heard so much about, but from what I understand they fall into this category.)  Well, somewhere in the process of looking for something else entirely, I found a picture of a hyrax.  As tends to happen while internetting around, one image led to a search which led to another search and before I knew it I had got this notion stuck in my head:  if I were an animal, I’d be a hyrax.  Technically there are a variety of types of hyraxes.  I think I’m more like the Tree Hyrax than the Rock Hyrax in terms of behavior… but in terms of appearance, I’m Rock Hyrax all the way.  I mean, the physical resemblence is obvious to anyone who’s seen me in person.  But it’s more than that.

Based on my extensive research, I can offer the following:

TEN THINGS that make me rather hyraxical:

1.  The hyrax is a mammal.  [Me too!]

2.  Often compared to manatees, aardvarks, and elephants.  [Oh, my god, me too!}

3.  They are grey/brown in colour and their fur is thick and soft.  [Though my fur is getting more and more grey daily.)

4.  They are nocturnal and they are either solitary or live in small groups.  [Nocturnal, check.  Solitary, check.]

5.  Hyraxes have a distinctive grunting/chewing sound.  [Me too, but I think part of that is the fault of my sinus problems and my bad teeth and my orthodontics.]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hyraxchewing.ogv

6.  Speaking of teeth, hyraxes are known for their “unusual incisors.”  [Me too!  Ask my periodontist.]

7.  “Though an extremely able climber, it is awkward on the ground and walks with some difficulty.”  [I’m not much of a dancer, but I can scale a ladder like a pro.]

8.  Hyraxes have “stumpy toes with hooflike nails.”  [I probably trim my toenails much more frequently, than the average hyrax…especially in the summer when I wear sandals or flipflops.]

9.  “Hyrax vocalizations include twitters, growls, whistles and shrieks.”  [I never got into Twitter.  And I can’t really whistle… but I do growl and shriek, particularly when I attend stupid meetings or poorly organized tech rehearsals.]

10. “Hyraxes are considered an ‘unclean’ meat in the Old Testament.”  [I’m also considered many things by the Old Testament, most of them negative.  But, you know, the term “abomination” gets tossed around so much in the OT, we’re all pretty much doomed anyway, right?]

TEN Major DIFFERENCES between hyraxes and me, according to Wikipedia:

1.  I am not primarily found in Africa.  [In fact, I’ve never been there.]

2.  The rock hyrax has “incomplete thermoregulation,” meaning their body temperatures vary significantly over the course of the day, unlike humans whose body temps stay relatively consistent regardless of the weather.  [I have a number of lovely sweaters.]

3.  My diet does not “consist largely of wild grasses, insects, and grubs.” [My diet consists largely of food rich in sugar and carboyhydrates.)

4.  Though I am "squat and heavily built," my weight is slightly greater than the 4 kilograms of the average hyrax.  [Probably due to the diet.  See above.]

5.  I seldom “forage.”  [I mean, I have, but it's rare.]

6.  I have never been called a dassie or a rock rabbit .  The Swahili names for me do NOT include pimbi, pelele and wibari.  [I'm fairly certain there's no word for me in Swahili.  If I HAD to go by one of those names, though, I'd probably prefer "pimbi."]

7.  “The rock hyrax spends approximately 95% of its time resting.”  [Color me jealous.]

8.  Male hyraxes have a visible, odor-emitting gland on its back that is used to mark territory and communicate with others of the species.  [I prefer to use "Degree Absolute Protection for Men" (tm).]

9.  “During seasonal changes, the weight of male reproduction organs (testis, seminal vesicles) changes due to sexual activity.”  [I have not noticed this to be true of myself, but I’ll check again in the winter and report back to you.  Unless you'd prefer I didn't.]

10.  They “produce large quantities of hyraceum (sticky mass of dung and urine) that has been employed by people in the treatment of several medical disorders, including epilepsy and convulsions.”  [I'm unaware of any medicinal value associated with my excretions.  But if there were, how cool would that be?]

For more information about the hyrax:

http://www.outtoafrica.nl/animals/enghyrax.html?zenden=2&subsoort_id=4&bestemming_id=1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_hyrax

http://www.theanimalfiles.com/mammals/hyraxes/western_tree_hyrax.html

For more information about me, send me an e-mail with your questions.

About these ads
This entry was posted in Personal and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to I Think I Might Be a Hyrax

  1. Will says:

    Adorable.

  2. Teresa says:

    Omg!! Havent laughed so hard in ages. Really funny, and I was just trying to figure out what the heck a hyrax was (doing the crossword). Thanks for making me laugh, sadly its kind of rare these days,

  3. Loved it. I saw some rock hyraxes a couple of hours outside of Upington, South Africa, this summer. They were cute. From a distance they reminded me of agoutis. It’s hard to imagine that their closest relatives are elephants.

  4. Marina Isaac says:

    Glad to learn of your interest in the hyrax. I wish I were a hyrax but I’m probably not worthy.

    Jackie, the relationship with elephants has been noted for a long time: there is an old African story about hyraxes being the little brother of the elephant (there is a Wildlife on One documentary named after this story). The most obvious similarities are in the placement of the ears on the head, and the toenails. There is also a similar protein occurring somewhere in the eye. It used to be thought that the hyrax was the closest relative of the elephant, but research into their genes suggests that the sirenians are closer.

    Oh and talking of distance, apparently ancient Phoenician sailors thought that the rabbits they saw on the coast of Spain were hyraxes, and so Spain was named “land of the hyrax” which became Hispania, and then Espana.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s