Bush hyraxes reside in a polygamous harem composed of one territorial male, numerous adult females, and juveniles. A harem can have as many as 34 individuals. Female bush hyraxes join this group once they reach sexual maturity (at approximately 16 months), while male hyraxes leave the harem between the age of 12 and 30 months. Some females also leave, likely to prevent inbreeding. Rock hyraxes live in colonies, or large family groups, that can include up to 80 individuals. Each colony has a single adult territorial male, adult females, and juveniles. Male rock hyraxes live solitary lives, and only the top male has the ability to take over a colony if the resident territorial male has been displaced. Bush and rock hyraxes are known to live together and even share burrows, but they do not interbreed.
Big in voice but small in stature, the rock hyrax has at least 21 different calls—from grunts and growls to squeals and snorts—that it uses to communicate within its colony. The bush hyrax also has a set of specific cries it uses to warn of threats or the need to defend territory.
Although diurnal, over 90 percent of their day is spent resting. Hyraxes have very poor internal temperature regulation, so they engage in an activity known as heaping, where individuals huddle, or stack, together in order to conserve heat and regulate their body temperature. Bush hyraxes feed alone and in groups, usually staying very close to their dens; rock hyraxes eat in groups and post sentries to watch for predators.
Although hyraxes are hunted in some parts of Africa for their pelts and meat, their populations are considered to be at no immediate risk.