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Gnocchi, a rock hyrax pup

Sebastian holds Gnocchi in preparation for a checkup.

What are tiny, furry and look an awful lot like potatoes? Rock hyrax pups, of course! Male Gnocchi and female Hashbrown were born to mom Buffy and dad Fangs on April 11.

Gestation lasted six to eight months, a particularly long time for such a small animal. Biologists believe this has to do with their evolutionary relation to elephants and manatees, which also have lengthy pregnancies.

Because our rock hyrax habitat was damaged by Hurricane Irma last fall, the pups and their parents will stay behind the scenes for the foreseeable future. Rest assured, they are receiving the same level of care lavished upon all of our animals.

Rock hyraxes are found in dry, rocky habitats throughout Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, living in colonies with a dominant male and several females. Human hunting has led to population declines in some areas.

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