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HyraxTwins
09-17-13, 01:00 am
Hi there. I'm new to the forum. I came here for help on raising a litter of rock hyrax pups after getting them from a park ranger (friend of mine) this afternoon. They have been abandoned by their mother and would die if left unattended. They are still drinking milk.

I can't find any information online on how to care for rock hyrax pups, but they are fairly close to guinea pigs in nature. They have the same diet and environment, (with the exception that) they like to bask in sunlight and heat. I'm hoping some guinea pig lovers (or breeders) can give me some information on how to care for these babies. I have experience breeding rabbits, cats and small dogs, but I've never had a hyrax before. Luckily there are two because they do better if they have company.

I have a pen for them at home (1 m x 1 m) and a big plastic box. On the way home, I'm picking up a heating lamp, alfalfa hay, pellets, goat's milk, eggs, saw dust, newspapers and a water bottle. What else do I need? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I've attached a few pictures of my new babies.

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Pawesomepet
09-17-13, 01:16 am
Why not try getting them to a nice zoo or wildlife sanctuary? Someone that is trained in the care of these animals

HyraxTwins
09-17-13, 01:24 am
Why not try getting them to a nice zoo or wildlife sanctuary? Someone that is trained in the care of these animals

I've certainly considered it, but 1) the zoos are culling them because they are very abundant in our country and 2) there aren't any wildlife sanctuaries close to me who can take them.

Pawesomepet
09-17-13, 01:29 am
That does make sense! Do they have to have hay to keep their teeth down and for their digestive tract like guinea pigs? If so you'd need a long stranded hay as a main source and just add some alfalfa for extra nutrition. I've never even heard of these animals but they sure are cute!

Shelbz
09-17-13, 03:37 am
I would be very cautious as I doubt many of us on this site are equipped to look after rock hyrax pups! I would certainly consider talking to the zoo and asking them for maintenance tips, even if they are likely to cull them- surely they would give you advice on their diet. I mean, just a quick look at wikipedia suggests there are massive differences between hyrax pups and guinea pigs- a hyrax can go for days without water, and some have been known to eat grubs and insects. I wouldn't want to advise you as I would a guinea pig owner and accidentally malnourish your little duo!

Aside from basic information online, I can't find many reliable sources for you to look at (most of them simply say that they eat "grasses, fruits, bark etc"), so I would certainly consider contacting a zoo or wildlife sanctuary- not necessarily to surrender the animals, but to find out more information.

Having said all that, welcome to the site, and I'm sure those of us who can help, will help!

HyraxTwins
09-17-13, 03:38 am
There is very little information available online and I'm still waiting to hear back from a few experts in their care. What I've been able to surmise so far is this:

1. They need heat because they have have poorly developed internal temperature regulation (which they deal with by huddling together for warmth, and by basking in the sun like reptiles)

2. Unlike other browsing and grazing animals, they do not use the incisors at the front of the jaw for slicing off leaves and grass, but use the molar teeth at the side of the jaw, instead. The incisors are nonetheless large, and grow continuously through life, in a manner similar to those of rodents.

3. They are herbivorous mammals in the order Hyracoidea.

My conclusions for their care based on this information are:
1. They need a great heating source (I already purchased a heating lamp);
2. They need hay just like guinea pigs do;
3. They eat the same diet as a guinea pig;
4. They are currently not weaned and are drinking formula from a syringe.

HyraxTwins
09-17-13, 03:47 am
I would be very cautious as I doubt many of us on this site are equipped to look after rock hyrax pups! I would certainly consider talking to the zoo and asking them for maintenance tips, even if they are likely to cull them- surely they would give you advice on their diet. I mean, just a quick look at wikipedia suggests there are massive differences between hyrax pups and guinea pigs- a hyrax can go for days without water, and some have been known to eat grubs and insects. I wouldn't want to advise you as I would a guinea pig owner and accidentally malnourish your little duo!

Aside from basic information online, I can't find many reliable sources for you to look at (most of them simply say that they eat "grasses, fruits, bark etc"), so I would certainly consider contacting a zoo or wildlife sanctuary- not necessarily to surrender the animals, but to find out more information.

Having said all that, welcome to the site, and I'm sure those of us who can help, will help!

Thanks for the feedback. I've already been in contact with a few zoos, sanctuaries and experts that I know who might be able to help. No one seems to really know how to care for them, but one volunteer who lost a pup after caring for him said that variety is key. Her account can be read here if anyone is interested: http://bit.ly/1eKgeqW

I didn't know that they eat insects and grubs too, but I can get those for the babies as well. They are currently being bottle fed with formula, but will need a herbivorous diet when they start eating.

I realize that there are huge differences between guinea pigs and rock hyraxes, but there are enough similarities to get an idea of how to care for them.

Shelbz
09-17-13, 04:00 am
From what I can find, I know that they get most of their water through their food. In the wild, they eat grass during wet season and then as the grass dries up they begin foraging for fruits and leaves. San Diego zoo (http://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/rock-hyrax) comments that they feed their captive hyrax "high-fibre pellets, hay, and a bit of produce", though what they mean by produce is a little ambiguous- maybe you should contact them? It's also worth discovering whether or not they need a vitamin C supplement, or they can get away with eating rabbit pellets.

They are able to climb trees, according to wikipedia, so you're going to need to research a suitable cage and will probably need a cover. I have no idea how you keep the little guys active/motivated/happy, though. I'm sorry I can't be more help.

Shelbz
09-17-13, 04:03 am
Also, http://www.outtoafrica.nl/animals/enghyrax.html comments that the hyrax, though suckled for up to three months, can eat vegetation from the second day. I'd be careful what formula you're using as if it's baby formula, the dairy in it will probably be damaging to their digestion. Okay, that's all I've got! Ha ha, you've got me researching these little guys like mad.

HyraxTwins
09-17-13, 04:14 am
Shelbz, thank you very much for the information. You've been a great help so far.

I just heard from the guy who's bringing them to me and one little guy didn't make it through the night. Apparently he was weaker from the start. I'm really hoping that I can help the other one pull through and grow big and strong.

Shelbz
09-17-13, 04:41 am
Aw, that's a shame. Good luck to you, though if you do find a specialist place that won't cull him, I would strongly advise that you send him their way. I'm a little scared that saying that guinea pigs and hyrax are similar is akin to saying that rabbits and guinea pigs are similar- they are completely and utterly different, have different digestive needs, require different forms of nutrition, and are susceptible to different illnesses, etc. Still, it's very admirable that you're wanting to help the little guy, and I wish you best of luck! I also saw your other post and I would be careful about using sawdust- no idea about the hyrax, but with guinea pigs it can damage their respiratory system and cause illness. It'd be better to use wood shavings (not cedar, just as a precaution), or carefresh, or fleece etc. Good luck to ya!

littlenme
09-17-13, 05:00 am
On the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens site it states thier zoo diet is rabbit chow carrots sweet potato and kale. I cannot find anything on weaning yet. I would try to get sometipe of herbivore replacement formula vs goats milk I would think. Very cutelittle ones. If i can find anything more specific I will post it. I hope a wildlife centre near you can give you some inofrmation on helping them out, they would be the best resource and while they may not have room for them they should be able to steer you in the right direction.i would call a few and see if you can get some help.

HyraxTwins
09-17-13, 12:25 pm
Update: The hyrax baby is doing very well - he is sleeping on a warm water bottle with a full tummy. He is a good drinker and he likes to move around a lot. Very active little guy. He likes to sit on my hands (probably the warmth?) and because of his awesome rubbery feet, he has a great grip.

I got advice from a wildlife sanctuary (and a professor in the Kalahari) on what to feed him, and she said the guinea pig food was a great idea. The brand I got is Cavia Nature for guinea pigs and it contains cereals, veggies, fruit, vegetable protein extract, minerals, seeds and herbs. Does anyone know this food? Is it any good?

I'm offering the dry food in a bowl with some fresh apple (recommended by the professor) and he sniffed at it, but didn't eat. But he drinks his formula like a champ. The lady at the wildlife sanctuary recommend a formula with Nespray milk, egg yolks and cream.

I just found out what happened to his mom this afternoon :(

ThePigAlchemist
09-17-13, 12:27 pm
In the guinea pig world, food with little colored bits isn't good because it allows the guinea pig to selectively take what they want and ignore the rest, as well as offering a choking hazard. As far as rock hyraxes, I don't know how it would be for them or not.

Good food choices for guinea pigs include Oxbow Cavy Cuisine (or Cavy Performance for babies. Maybe that would be better for a baby rock hyrax, but I don't know), KMS, and Sweet Meadow. Oxbow is the only one you'll be able to find in stores to my knowledge.