Trivia Tuesday: Rock Hyrax

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Every Tuesday we'll share a few fun animal facts with you from experts all over the country.

Today's experts: The Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Zoo Education Team work to find new ways to teach guests about the more than 2,000 animals that call the Florida theme park home, including rock hyrax.

  1. The rock hyrax’s closest relative is the elephant, which is rather surprising given that this animal typically weighs only around 10 pounds. 
  2. Rock hyraxes have suction cups on their feet. Their feet have rubbery pads that help them cling to surfaces, which makes them expert rock climbers.
  3. Rock hyrax urine has been used for medical purposes. Their dried urine forms large deposits of calcium carbonate crystals. South African tribes have used these deposits to treat illnesses ranging from epilepsy to infections.
  4. Rock hyraxes are unable to control their body temperature. They will sun themselves in the morning to stay warm, and then find shade to stay cool. At night they'll cuddle together to keep their body temperatures regulated.
  5. Rock hyraxes have built-in sunglasses. In order to watch for birds of prey, rock hyraxes need to stare at the sky. To protect their eyes from the sun, they have a special membrane on their eyes that shields the brightness without hindering their vision.

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