Dassie dilemma

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QPIET VAN STAADEN from Wel­gele­gen writes: I pho­tographed this crea­ture in Ma­pun­gubwe Na­tional Park. I con­sulted a few guide­books and I think it’s a tree hyrax, but they aren’t found in that area. Can you help me iden­tify it?

ALETSIE COET­ZEE from Ma­pun­gubwe Na­tional Park says: Thanks for the won­der­ful photo, Piet. This is ac­tu­ally a yel­low-spot­ted rock hyrax, not a tree hyrax. The species has a num­ber of colour vari­a­tions: grey fur with a white stom­ach – like here – is char­ac­ter­is­tic of the Zim­babwe colour vari­ant. An­other way to iden­tify a yel­lowspot­ted rock hyrax is to look for the white spots above the eyes. The rock hyrax and tree hyrax don’t have these spots.

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