Tiny, fluffy 'rock rabbits' who are closely related to elephants unveiled by Chester Zoo

David Harding
The baby triplets with their mother (Chester Zoo)

They are tiny, weigh little more than 250 grams – and are closely related to elephants.

Tiny triplet hyraxes – or rock rabbits – just made their public debut at Chester Zoo and despite being related to pachyderms, they don’t look as you would expect.

The small, furry rock hyraxes – two male and one female – were born to mother Daissie and father Nungu at the zoo in July.

The babies weigh around 250 grams, about the same as a mango, but are genetically more closely related to elephants than any other animal.

Just like their much bigger ancestors, rock hyraxes boast two large incisor teeth which constantly grow like tiny tusks.

Despite being so tiny, hyraxes are almost fully formed when born (Chester Zoo)


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Meanwhile, the shape of their feet and their skull structure is also very similar to their much larger relation.

Their pregnancies can last for more than seven months and at birth young are well developed, just like miniature adults.

The animals were born on July 19 (Chester Zoo)

The animals, also known as rock rabbits, live in rocky terrain and can be found in large colonies across Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

They are able to survive in harsh climates as they get most of their water from food.

The animals have also developed a special eyelid which protects them from sun and dust and have their own built-in sun visor.

They have just made their public debut at the zoo (Chester Zoo)

Scientists believe they have their own form of language, communicating via 20 different noises with particular tones conveying different meanings.

The animals live in colonies, numbering anything up from two to 26 animals.