little ones


I’ve been working on a post, and just haven’t managed to complete it yet, so I’ll let it wait. Meantime, I’ll share a picture taken this week when some of the cubs joined the adult hyraxes at the park… or should I say manger?

I think it was last year… maybe two years ago; a little later in the year… at the end of summer. I watched the adults teach their cubs how to climb a tree. An adult would take a running start and sort of continue up the tree. The cubs tried, but they would fall down. This continued for a while till everyone was tired, so they had a bit to eat and went home. I wasn’t able to take a picture. I’d been sitting for a time with my back against a tree (which they studiously avoided), and I knew that if I raised the camera to take a shot, that would be the end of the exercise. So I just sat there and watched. This time, all they were interested in was the grass. And I did manage to get a shot for you. The cubs are so cute.


44 responses to “little ones

  1. My mother, being a little on the cynical side when it came to anything that took her from her golf, said babies’ chief means of survival is that they are cute. I don’t think we have these animals over here, but they are very cute!

    • Very interesting, ekurie. I know they’re people who think that babies are cute (I’m not one of them), but I would say that their survival is a matter of deep embedded instinct. If you live in the states, they aren’t found there. But here, the hyraxes are native to the land. Most Israelis think they are somewhat like a rabbit, though rabbits are rare here, and aren’t related. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Google describes them as well-furred, rotund animals. That sounds cute right there!

    • I couldn’t help wondering, when I read this, how Google would describe us. So when I looked up human being, I was sobered by a very straight forward description. Regarding the hyraxes, I do think the cubs are cute, but the adults aren’t. What attracts me to them is their intelligence. They are also extremely shy, which is a bit of a challenge in getting to know them.

  3. I think the Hyraxes are absolutely gorgeous and if I lived close by I would constantly sit and observe. What a treat to see the Mother with her babies….I wonder what Nechama thinks of them?? Enjoy the day my friend. xxx

    • Hi Janet. Nechama is completely neutral towards them. Doesn’t chase them, and doesn’t try to get to know them. Nowadays, I have to walk a certain distance to get to where they visit, and so she doesn’t see them anymore. But when we lived in our old home, we would walk together in their natural habitat. If they saw her, they would keep their distance, but they did recognize me, and if I came alone they would approach me. I’m sure you would enjoy watching them. Best wishes, xxx

      • Thank you, Shimon. A lovely thought – Nechama enjoying the little hyraxes. Here it’s considerably cooler and we are getting much needed rain. August for me is always a time to tie up loose ends with regards to work, letter writing (which I still do) and everything else, preparing for September when the world seems to come alive again. Enjoy the day and week ahead. The picture of you and Nechama communing together is clear in my mind’s eye. Janet xxx

  4. How wonderful that you’ve been able to watch whole families (or at least generations) going about their ordinary life. They are cute, and interesting. I read that they’re connected genetically to elephants and manatees: hardly what I would have expected.

    I had a bit of a revelation when you suggested the park as their manger. I remembered that manger also is the French word for ‘to eat.’ So, in this case: ils mangent — and rather enthusiastically, from the looks of things. That’s a nice bi-lingual pun on your part.

    • Not only do I watch families, but also tribal behavior. They live in a sort of tribe, with different members having particular jobs. Their social life is very interesting. And though they live in communities, you can see very individual behavior amongst them. I’ve watched individuals go off exploring on their own. It is said that they are family to the elephant, and knowing that, one can see some resemblance, but I wouldn’t have thought it on my own. Thanks, Linda.

  5. Brilliant to see so many all busy grazing.

    • I have photos where you can see many more. The problem is that if I’d publish them here, with the size of photo I use on the blog, they would look like tiny brown blobs. But I might use one of those pictures if I post some story about them again. Thanks, Tish

    • Thanks for coming by Lizl. It’s a pleasure to meet you.

      • Likewise! I have been reading your blog for a while, now, and enjoying it. Thank you! The little ones recall to mind growing up on the edge of a small town with squirrels and rabbits (and an occasional moose or two in the garden plot, eating ears of corn.) The squirrels used to come to my dad’s hand to collect their peanuts, which he bought for them.

        • Yes, I’ve known people who did that… some of whom I loved dearly. But I always had a problem giving gifts, and never went to the trouble to find a psychologist to explain the why to me. So, whether animals or humans, I expect folks to like me for my personality and sense of humor. But I’m sure it would be great fun to feed them peanuts… or fresh flowers.

  6. They are very cute. How lucky they are to have such a sheltered place to live and thrive.

    • They live among boulders and large rocks outside of town, and visit the park because of the vegetation that they enjoy. I’ve known them in other places where they were more at ease. As it happens, in my current neighborhood there are some people who have dogs, and hyraxes really don’t like them, though they do seem faster and more agile. When they see dogs or people, they just disappear. There are some people who’ve never seen them… especially loud people.

  7. How cute! Sometimes, moments are for our benefit alone. And you managed to share it quite vividly with words. 🙂

  8. So precious! I LOVED this photo! And your words capped a perfect short post! Thanks, Shimon. 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, Kitty. I had been struggling with a post that I was writing… thinking that what I had to say was important… but worrying that it could offend people. Maybe I should try to write it from that angle… about the subjective difficulty when bringing unwanted news. Thanks for the smile.

  9. Hyraxes! So that’s the name of these big critters. I saw them in Israel all over the places and I don’t know the name of these animals. Yes, they are adorable.

    • Actually, I only learned the name this year. I’d always known their name in Hebrew, which is shafan. But when I looked for their name in English, I was told by reliable people that they were called ‘rock badgers’. This is what I called them when speaking to foreigners. But then, this year my friend Tish, who comments here, and is an author and blogger herself, informed me that they were called hyraxes. When researching that name, I found that it corresponded to all I knew about the animal, though I hadn’t known its name in English.

  10. They are so cute! Shabbat Shalom!

  11. How I wish I could sit in a park with you and observe these magnificent creatures for hours…

    • Oh, that would be wonderful Dina… and such a test of self restraint and discipline. For if we were to speak to each other, they would all run away. They’re very suspicious of anything they can’t understand. They’ve let me speak to them directly, but if it’s to someone else, they scram. I’ve never photographed their escape, because it’s always disappointing. But it’s quite amusing to watch. Without consulting one another, they all get the same idea at the same time, and immediately scatter in all directions. Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to shoot a video of such a scene. xxx

  12. So good to see animals roaming free like this and not in a zoo.

    • Yes, these animals are truly free, and have a protected status. I much prefer making friends with free life forms. But as you might know, it is considered a righteous deed here to make friends and give encouragement to the incarcerated. Thanks for your comment Paol.

  13. Seeing this photo and hearing about the adults teaching their little ones how to climb trees has me smiling very widely. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    • Nice to meet you, Ashleigh. I’ve just started to read some of what you’ve written and enjoy your point of view. And I am always delighted to share a smile or a laugh with a friend. Thanks for coming by, and my best wishes to you.

  14. I love this photo. Thank you for sharing, Shimon. I understand the struggle to get some posts written. You write from your heart Shimon, and that is always felt. Hugs for you and Nechama. xXx

    • Thanks very much for your comment, Jane. You know sometimes, I am amazed by the possibilities of getting to know people in far away countries, and the many things we have in common. But other time, when we have our local problems, I get the feeling that no matter how I tried, people wouldn’t understand what I see from my perspective… and then it’s hard to write. But making contact always feels good. Hugs to you too. xxx

  15. Manger…..Park is the adjective, no doubt about that. An interesting tongue-in-cheek comparison. Those cubs are, relatively speaking, quite big babies. Are those animals seen anywhere in Israel, or do they congregate in certain locations? I saw their family groups at Ein Geidi, they were fascinating to watch. We bipeds were tolerated to a point.

    Cute photo a nice one to obtain.


    • We can see the hyrax in most parts of Israel, but usually not where humans live. They are very shy, and afraid of people. But they flourish quite well both in the desert and the lush green north. They climb both rocks and trees. So glad you got to see them, menhir. xx

  16. I good example for humans (and with Dina I wish I could spend some time in the park looking and taking pictures of them), maybe meanwhile you speak softly to them so they won’t be scared away.
    Hugs 🙂 c

    • They are very smart and interesting creatures, Claudine. I have spent time with them, talking to them and even smoking a cigarette, and the older ones would get closer and closer. But if I brought a friend and we talked between us, they would run away. Sometimes, even when they were completely relaxed, when I would raise a camera, they would scatter and escape. Thanks so much, and my best to you.

  17. Interesting post and image. I’ll show my ignorance – I have never heard of hydraxes, or rock badgers. We learn something every day.

    • I don’t think they exist in your country, Peter. There are lots of them in the middle east and in Africa, but they’re not found in Europe or in the Americas. Very interesting creatures. I have written about them a number of times on this blog.

  18. Sounds like your park rivals a visit to the zoo if you just sit quietly and watch.

    • We have a wonderful zoo here in Jerusalem, which I still visit from time to time, usually with my younger grandchildren. But I do prefer to see animals in the wild. Even when they visit the city, they have a certain elegance that animals have when they’re free. Thanks so much for your comment, Bev.

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