The Dassie Rat is an African rodent found among rocky outcroppings. It is the only living member of its genus Petromus and family Petromuridae. The name "Dassie" is the Afrikaans word for "Hyrax' and the two animals are found in similar habitats. Petromus means "rock mouse" and Dassie Rats are one of many rodents that is sometimes called rock rats.
Dassie Rats are squirrel-like in appearance. Their tails are hairy but not bushy and the soles of their feet are distinctly bare and have pads.Their heads are noticeably flattened. The overall coloration can be a range of browns, greys or almost black. The nose is yellowish and tends to stand out. They have no under-fur. The teats are located on the side of the torso, which allow the young to feed from the side when crammed in a narrow rock crevice.
Dassie Rats are restricted to rocky outcrops in Namibië, parts of Angola and north-west South Africa. They are famous for being able to squeeze into extremely narrow crevices. This is accomplished due to their flattened skulls and flexible ribs.
They feed primarily on grassy parts but will sometimes eat fruits, seeds and leaves. Females give birth to a pair of offspring just once a year, an unusually slow reproductive rate amongst rodents.
These pics were taken in the Richtersveld - Kokerboomkloof campsite at the beginning of September.
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