The Humphead Maori Wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus) is also called the Napoleon Wrasse, Napoleonfish, and Maori Wrasse. It is a large Indo-Pacific fish found on coral reefs.
The Humphead Maori Wrasse has a hump on its forehead. It is blue-green to purple-blue or yellow-blue with two thin, black lines behind its eyes. It has thick lips and blue-green-yellow eyes.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Humphead Maori Wrasse”
The Topi (Damaliscus lunatus jimela) is an East African antelope.
The Topi is tan-brown with a dark-purple patch on its forehead, nose, and upper limbs. It has high shoulders, long ears, a short tail, and long legs. Its small horns are ridged. It is an ungulate (hoofed).
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Topi”
The Golden Silk Orb-Weaver (Nephila), or Banana Spider, is a large arachnid – a spider. Nephila means fond of spinning. The Golden Silk Orb-Weaver has yellow (gold) silk, which they use to make their webs.
The Golden Silk Orb-Weaver varies in colour from reddish to greenish yellow. They can grow to 4.8–5.1 centimetres (1.5–2 inches). Females are larger than males.
The Golden Silk Orb-Weaver makes a large asymmetric orb web up to one and a half meters in diameter. They stay in their webs permanently.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Golden Silk Orb-Weaver”
The Serval (Leptailurus serval) is a slender, medium-sized wild cat found in southern Africa, similar to a cheetah but much smaller. The Serval can grow to 54–62 centimetres (21–24 inches) tall.
The Serval has golden-yellow fur that has black spots and black stripes. It has a small head, large ears, elongated toes, and a short 30 centimetre (12 inch) long black-tipped tail. It has brown or green eyes, white whiskers, white chin, and white under-belly. Three to four black stripes run from the back of the head onto the shoulders, which become rows of spots.
The Serval has the longest legs of any cat, in comparison with its body size. This may be to allow the Serval cat to walk above muddy ground. Like a domestic cat, it is very flexible and can change direction in mid-air as it leaps.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Serval”
The Gerenuk (Litocranius walleri) is an African long-necked gazelle from the antelope family, which is also called Waller’s Gazelle.
Gerenuk means giraffe-necked in Somali. Its neck is not as long as a giraffe’s neck but it is longer than a gazelle’s neck. Its neck is about 60-70 centimetres (23-28 inches) long. It also has very thin legs.
The Gerenuk is 80-105 centimetres (31-41 inches) tall with glossy two-tone fur in buff and reddish colours. Its tail, throat, chin, eye rings, and lips are white. Its head is long and narrow with very large ears.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Gerenuk”
The Secretary Bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) is an African bird of prey, a raptor. It is the only bird of prey that is terrestrial (it hunts for food while walking on land, rather than swooping on their prey).
The Secretary Bird has long-legs, with a slender but powerful body that looks like an eagle with an eagle-like head. It measures 1.2 metres (3.9 feet) long with a 2 metre (7 feet) wingspan. It is longer and taller than other raptors.
The Secretary Bird has 20 black crest feathers that look like quill pens behind its ears. It has a light grey body, black thighs and flight feathers, and white wing linings. Its tail has a pair of long central streamers. Its legs have thick scales to protect the bird from snakebite.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Secretary Bird”
The East African Black-Backed Jackal (Canis mesomelas schmidti) is a canid of East Africa, including Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Djibouti, Eritrea, Uganda, Tanzania, and Ethiopia.
Canis means dog, and mesomelas means middle black. It looks like a fox or dog, but with large pointed ears, and a pointed snout. It has reddish fur, a white chest, and a distinct black back from neck to bushy tail.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: East African Black-Backed Jackal”
The African Pygmy Falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus) is the smallest raptor in Africa. It lives in eastern and southern Africa.
It is only 20 centimetres (8 inches) tall. It is a grey and white bird of prey, with a red eye ring and pink legs. It has short, rounded wings. Torquatus means that it is adorned with a neck collar. Hierax means that it is hawk-like.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: African Pygmy Falcon”
Goodfellow’s Tree-Kangaroo (Dendrolagus goodfellowi buergersi) is one of two sub-species of tree-kangaroos, native to Papua New Guinea.
It is a macropod, and is related to kangaroos and wallabies.
It grows to 55-77 centimetres (22-30 inches).
The tree-kangaroos are arboreal, spending their lives in trees, unlike other kangaroos that are terrestrial (living on the ground).
Goodfellow’s Tree-Kangaroos are short and woolly with chestnut red fur, a brown face, yellowish cheeks and feet, a pale stomach, a long tail, and two golden stripes on its back.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Goodfellow’s Tree-Kangaroo”
The Nile Soft-Shelled Turtle (Trionyx triunguis) is an African freshwater turtle without scales.
Triunguis means three-toed. Most turtles have four toes.
Their shell is flat, not domed. It has a long tubular nose.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Nile Soft-Shelled Turtle”
The Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is a carnivorous mammal and the largest of the cat family.
The Bengal Tiger can grow to 1.5-1.8 metres (5-6 feet) tall with a tail of half a metre to one metre (2-3 feet) long.
Bengal Tigers live in the Bengal area of Bangladesh and eastern India.
They are an endangered species because the number of Bengal Tigers is decreasing. In 2014 the estimated population of Bengal tigers was about 3,000 with 2,226 in India, 440 in Bangladesh, 163-243 in Nepal, and 103 in Bhutan.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Bengal Tiger”
The Speckled Mousebird (Colius striatus) is an African bird named after their soft, mouse-like feathers that look like fur.
Their head and crest are mousy brown, with white cheeks, while the area around each eye is dark brown or black. Their legs and feet are dark pink.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Speckled Mousebird”
A Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus defassa) is a large antelope found in Africa.
Waterbucks have brown shaggy coats, with a white patch around their noses. They have large rounded ears.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Defassa Waterbuck”
The Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) is a grey-feathered bird found in Australia and Asia that has a large beak that looks like a frog’s mouth. The top of the beak has tufts of bristles. It is not an owl; it is from the Nightjar family.
The Tawny Frogmouth is a big-headed stocky bird with rounded wings and short legs, often mistaken for owls, because they are both nocturnal (active mainly at night) and they both have front-facing eyes. The word strigoides means owl-form.
One difference between Tawny Frogmouths and owls is that owls catch their prey (mice) with their feet, but Tawny Frogmouths catch their prey with their beaks. They are carnivorous and eat moths, spiders, worms, snails, beetles, ants, centipedes, millipedes, scorpions, and sometimes lizards and frogs.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Tawny Frogmouth”
The hyrax is a herbivorous (plant eating) mammal.
The plural is hyraxes. Hyrax means shrew mouse.
Hyraxes are furry and round, with short tails. They measure about 30-70 centimetres (12-18 inches) long and weigh about 2-5 kilograms (4-11 pounds).
Hyraxes are found only in the Middle East and Africa.
The hyrax pictured is a rock hyrax (Procavia capensis), found in Africa.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Hyrax”
The Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons) is the smallest of three species of wombats, an animal native to Australia.
It is a marsupial mammal, because it has a pouch (like a kangaroo). Baby wombats grow in the pouch for about six months.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Hairy-Nosed Wombat”
The Red Piranha (Pygocentru nattereri) is an omnivorous freshwater fish native to South American waters.
The Red Piranha grows to about 14-26 centimetres (5.5 to 10.2 inches) long.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Red Piranha”
At the Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia there are a number of peacocks and peahens, including a white peacock. It is a leucistic peacock.
Leucistic peacocks are white all over. It is a genetic mutation called leucism which causes a reduction of colour pigmentation.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: the leucistic peacock (what’s the difference between leucistic and albino?)”
The Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) is native to Australia.
It is the only entirely black-coloured swan in the world. Only the tips of its flight feathers are white, which can only be seen when flying. Its bill (beak) is deep orange-red with white bands at the front.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Black Swan”