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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Hyrax \Hy"rax\, n. [NL., fr. Gr. ? shrew mouse.] (Zo["o]l.) Any animal of the genus Hyrax, of which about four species are known. They constitute the order Hyracoidea. The best known species are the daman ( Hyrax Syriacus) of Palestine, and the klipdas ( Hyrax capensis) of South Africa. Other species are Hyrax arboreus and Hyrax Sylvestris, the former from Southern, and the latter from Western, Africa. See Daman.


n. Any of several small, paenungulate herbivorous mammals, of the order Hyracoidea, with a bulky frame and fang-like incisors; they are native to Africa and the Middle East.

  1. n. any of several small ungulate mammals of Africa and Asia with rodent-like incisors and feet with hooflike toes [syn: coney, cony, dassie, das]

  2. [also: hyraces (pl)]


Hyraxes (from the Greek , hurax, "shrewmouse"), also called dassies, are small, thickset, herbivorous mammals in the order Hyracoidea. Hyraxes are well-furred, rotund animals with short tails. Typically, they measure between long and weigh between . They are often mistaken for pikas or rodents, but are more closely related to elephants and manatees.

Four extant species are recognised; the rock hyrax (Procavia capensis), the yellow-spotted rock hyrax (Heterohyrax brucei), the western tree hyrax (Dendrohyrax dorsalis) and the southern tree hyrax (Dendrohyrax arboreus). Their distribution is limited to Africa and the Middle East.

Usage examples of "hyrax".

Big as a hyrax, but so still, its attention fixed-- it was stalking something.

He cleaned and skinned and jointed the hyrax, roasted its meat in the hot ashes, and ate until his stomach hurt, cracking bones for hot marrow and licking the fatty juices from his fingers.

It spun and jerked, like a hyrax attacked by dire wolves, but it was too, late.

The earliest of these transitional cultures so far found, the site at Hyrax Hill in Kenya that was excavated in 1937 by Dr.

These hyrax were deep in their rocky burrows now, and the ledge seemed deserted.

Genly must learn to respect the Colt, and the Minids, me included, deserved the psychological boost of a kill larger than hyrax, hare, or guinea hen.

The silence of the hyrax and the absence of the monkeys in the dense jungle could mean only one thing.

A colony of hyrax, hearing the crunch of their boots on the rock, fled into a cleft so fast that the boy saw only a blur of small furry brown bodies.

The hyraces bolted in every direction and a youngster ran squealing in blind panic into the middle of the shallow pond.

There were many smaller animals, too: mice and rock hyraxes and molerats, cassowaries and grass pipers, a writhing mass of kraal vipers.

Genly must learn to respect the Colt, and the Minids, me included, deserved the psychological boost of a kill larger than hyrax, hare, or guinea hen.

At the foot of the drop, a seep of brackish water gleamed like copper in the sun's last light, and a family of hyraces were sporting in the muddy shallows.

There was a confusion of tracks around the water's edge, but he could find no human ones, only the slots of hyraces and antelopes, and what looked like the impress of the pads of some large cat, most likely a spotted panther.

Unless you have camped out in the bush, you have never heard such an eerie racket: the quarreling of hyraxes, the hose-pipe bleating of pachyderms, the madman laughter of hyenas.

In fact, at catching birds and tracking small game such as hyraxes and hares, he seemed to me one of the most adept of all the habilines.