Name the Hyrax!

This is Zooniversity’s newest animal ambassador, a yellow-spotted hyrax (Heterohyrax brucei) who needs the perfect name — and we’re asking our Zooniversity friends to name him! Something, cute, yet dignified, that suits his species and his personality. Here’s a bit more about him to give you some creative inspiration…

This 8-pound, football-shaped, herbivore was sent to us by another wildlife educator who just didn’t have the time to work with him. He is usually found in the savannahs and jungles of central African and is considered by scientists to be the nearest living relative to the elephant (yep, elephant — they share similarities in teeth, leg and foot bones, testes, and other obscure details). They are amazing climbers, using the sweat on their soft, rubbery, footpads to suction themselves to the rocks. They normally live in large colonies of females with only one male (so this guy may be a bit lonely). They spend their days basking in the sun, nibbling on plants. They are extremely cautious — they’ll take a bite of grass, freeze, look carefully around for predators, and if all clear, will relax and chow down. They do not have front teeth — they have 4 front tusks that have squared-off ends and they won’t hesitate to use their powerful bite as protection (okay, I already learned this the hard way, ouch.) They are extremely tidy critters, using a common "potty spot," even in the wild. Their communal outhouse is infamous — it hardens over centuries and becomes fossilized into what is called "African Stone" or "Hyraceum," which is used in perfumery as a substitute for other musky notes like deer or civet — "Hmmm, what IS that mysterious scent you’re wearing?" 

This special guy is still adjusting to people and has been in veterinary care for the last three months to fix some existing health issues. He is gaining trust with each day and will now let us hand-feed and gently pet him. He has a demanding personality and will run you over for his favorite slice of banana. He grunts, squeaks, and hisses, depending on what he’s trying to tell you. He should be ready to meet our fans starting this summer, but first he needs a name befitting this assertive rock climber.

So, get those creative juices flowing and send us some name suggestions. Simply leave a comment here on the blog or post on our Facebook page. If you suggest the perfect name, we’ll brag about you in our next post — and, if you’re brave, we’ll let you hold his banana!

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11 Responses to Name the Hyrax!

  1. mike morrow says:

    i would name him “tidwin” because he is a tidy little fellow and because steve irwin liked these animals alot.

  2. Rock Hyrax says:

    How about Husani: Swahili for beautiful?

  3. Jennifer Alaine says:

    I’ve been looking through a book of names and have found three that I like:

    1. Kivi (kih-vee). An African-American name borrowed from the Finnish. It means “dweller by a stone.”

    2. Kiyo’kaya (kee-YO-kay-ah). A Native North American name from the Sauk people. It means “one who moves about warily, he who is alert.”

    3. Isi (ee-see). A Japanese name. It means “rock.”

  4. Allison says:

    Wow! All great suggestions, thanks for taking the time and keep ’em coming. Glad I’ve got creative visitors!

  5. Jay says:

    Herman the Hyrax. It has a ring to it. 🙂

  6. Rachel (age almost 10) says:

    “George” is a good name – very distinguished and he looks like a “George.” Allison has been to my birthday party 3 times!! Can “George” come too?

  7. Ailin Loh says:

    Rocki — for a rock-climber and his tough character. Also the dot on the “i” reminds me of his musky scent being exuded… haha!!

  8. anna berman says:

    we should name him manly

  9. Sara says:

    Steve since Steve Irwin liked these animals so much

  10. Laura Harris says:

    I really like the “Tidwin” name!!!

  11. Allison says:

    I am sorry to have to tell our Zooniversity friends that this dear boy passed away quietly one night, after eating a giant bowl of good food and enjoyng a gentle back rub. Necropsy results showed that he died of a perforated ulcer. He arrived at Zooniversity with a severe nematode infestation (a common parasite seen in wild hyraxes). He was treated for 8-weeks with anti-parasitic injections and was parasite-free. The expert veterinarians at Texas A&M University Veterinary reported massive scarring of the stomach lining and the fatal perforation — they speculated that years of severe parasitic invasion caused his death. Rest now, our dear boy. We hope we made your last year a pleasant one — full of good food, gentle attention, and lots of back rubs.

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