Are Rock Rabbits Invading?

Saturday August 6, 2011
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Not yet in Southern California, but they are if you live in the many cities and towns of Israel that experience heavy housing construction. This adorable hyrax (Shaphan in Hebrew), mentioned in the bible, is invading urban communities.
Hyrax or Rock Rabbit

Hyrax or Rock Rabbit

Here are a few fascinating facts and stories about the hyrax.
    • The hyrax is considered the closest non-extinct relative of the elephant!
    • The hyrax is discussed in Levitticus with extensive commentary on why it is non-kosher.
    Some believe that Spain got its’ name from a derivation of the Hebrew name for the hyrax – Shapan.
The hyrax, commonly called the rock rabbit is camoflaged among the natural rural landscape of Israel, as you can see. But it has found relative safety in the piles of concrete found around housing construction sites. These camoflaging mounds can last for months and years, serving as excellent nesting locations. Now, the protected hyrax is facing calls for the animal to be culled before they become a terrible pest of the growing urban landscape. We have our problems with environmentally protected rabbit populations in southern California, but in Israel environmentalism goes to another level as they are not only concerned with preserving nature. The country has fought hard to preserve native animals mentioned in biblical text. You can find the full story by reading this BBB Nature article on the Hyrax.


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