Banded Mongoose females have a unique system of supersynchrony when they have their babies – they all give birth on the same night.
The Banded Mongoose (Mungos mungo) is a small carnivorous mammal found in central and eastern Africa – and one of 25 African species of mongoose. It is related to the Meerkat.
Most mongooses are solitary, but the Banded Mongoose lives in a colony of about 20 individuals, and up to 55 individuals. The colony lives underground in burrows, called dens.
Continue reading “Supersynchrony in Banded Mongoose females”
The Flamingo is a large wading wetlands bird in the Phoenicopteridae family.
The four Flamingo species are found in countries in North America, South America, Africa, southern Europe and south-west Asia.
It is a social bird, living in colonies. A group is called a stand of Flamingos or a flamboyance of Flamingos.
Continue reading “Flamingo friends forever”
Ratites are flightless birds. They have wings but do not fly. Is it due to their size?
Ratites include emus and cassowaries in the Casuariidae family, kiwis in the Apterygidae family, ostriches in the Struthionidae family, and rheas in the Rheidae family.
Continue reading “Flightless birds and their size”
The Mottled Bichir (Polypterus weeksii) is a freshwater fish in the Polypteridae family of ray-finned fish and reedfish. It is also known as the Fat-Headed Bichir.
The Mottled Bichir is an elongated fish with a series of 7-18 dorsal (back) finlets instead of a single dorsal fin. The finlets (small fins) can be raised and flattened. Its light-grey body has thick scales in patterns of dark-grey bands, and a white underbelly. It breathes through spiracles on the top of its head, four pairs of gills, and ventral lungs – the left lung is shorter than the right lung.
Continue reading “Mottled Bichir”
Why do female lions hunt instead of male lions?
The African Lion (Panthera leo) is a carnivorous – meat eating – mammal. It kills and eats ungulate mammals (animals with hooves), such as zebra, buffalo, giraffe, wildebeest, warthog, gazelle, and impala.
Lions live in a pride, which is a group of family members consisting of 10-12 females and their male and female children, called cubs, with one to three dominant males. When male cubs grow up, they become solitary until they form their own pride.
Continue reading “Why do female lions hunt instead of male lions?”
How does the Zebra repel insects?
The Common Zebra (Equus quagga, formerly Equus burchellii) is common in the treeless plains of East Africa and southern Africa. It is an ungulate (a hoofed mammal).
The Common Zebra is like a horse or pony with short legs, and is black and white striped. The stripes continue all the way to its hooves. No two Zebras are alike, because they all have slightly different markings.
Continue reading “How does the Zebra repel insects?”
The Red-Veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) is an insect in the Libelludlidae family of dragonflies. It is also known as the Nomad Darter.
The male Red-Veined Darter has a deep-red abdomen with a red-brown thorax. Its eyes are brown above and blue-green below. Its wings have red veins and the base of its hind-wings (back wings) is yellow. The female is similar, but her abdomen is yellow-brown with two black lines along each side. Her wings have yellow veins. Both the male and female have black legs with some yellow markings.
Continue reading “Red-Veined Darter”
The Small Common Blue Butterfly (Polyommatus icarus) is an insect in the Lycaenidae family of blue butterflies.
The Small Common Blue male has iridescent blue wings above with a thin, black-brown border and white fringe. The female is brown above with blue flecks, like dust, and orange spots. Both the male and the female have a row of red or orange spots along the edge of the hindwing (back wing).
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Small Common Blue Butterfly”
Which bird is the most talkative?
Some birds can imitate human speech, and they often know quite a lot of words. Of all of the bird species, parrots and parakeets can mimic human speech more than other bird species. But which parrot or parakeet is the most talkative?
Continue reading “Which bird is the most talkative?”
Which bird can eat a baby Nile Crocodile whole?
The Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) is a large freshwater reptile native to Africa. On average, it grows to 300-440 centimetres (10-14 feet) long. The female lays eggs and baby crocodiles hatch after about 90 days. A baby Nile Crocodile measures about 30 centimetres (12 inches) long.
There is a bird that can eat a baby Nile Crocodile whole, head first.
Continue reading “Which bird can eat a baby Nile Crocodile whole?”
Scientists have recently documented their findings of the bones of a new species of two-legged dinosaur in Zimbabwe. It is believed to be the oldest ever found in Africa.
The plant-eating dinosaur is the predecessor of the long-necked sauropods. This new species has been named Mbiresaurus raathi.
Continue reading “Scientists find two-legged dinosaur bones in Zimbabwe”
The Yellowback Anthias (Pseudanthias evansi) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Serranidae family of sea basses and groupers. It is also known as the Goldback Anthias, Goldback Basslet, and Purple Wreckfish.
The female Yellowback Anthias is mainly violet with a yellow back and yellow caudal fin. The caudal fin is deeply forked with long thin edges. It has a light purple line through its eyes. The male has yellow dots on its upper body.
Continue reading “Yellowback Anthias”
Why is hay in the treetops?
Most of the ‘hay in the treetops’ are found in African countries, south of the Sahara. They are clumps of dry grass hanging from branches. What are they?
The mini clumps and balls of hay are bird nests.
They are the nests of weaverbirds. Weaverbirds weave grass and leaves, usually dry grass, into small nests on the branches of trees.
Continue reading “Why is hay in the treetops?”
Which bird is the heaviest flying bird?
The heaviest flying bird is the Somali Kori Bustard.
The Somali Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori struthiunculus) is the largest flying bird native to Africa. It is native to dry, inland regions of East Africa, from Ethiopia, Uganda, South Sudan, and Kenya to Tanzania and into South Africa.
Continue reading “Which bird is the heaviest flying bird?”
Cheetahs are the fastest land mammal but cheetah cub survival rates are low. Why is this?
Previous studies of cheetah cub survival rates on the Serengeti Plains of Kenya and Tanzania in Africa in 1994, 2000, and 2004, found that it was exceptionally low because of the lion population attacking them. The survival rate was only 4.8% of cubs – that is 5 cubs out of every 100 cubs born survived beyond 14 months of age.
Researchers from the Zoology Department of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom conducted a similar study on cheetah cub survival rates in 2013 and published the results in the Journal of Zoology. They compared the cheetah cub survival rate in the Kgalagadi (Kalahari) Transfrontier Park on the border of Botswana and South Africa with the Serengeti study.
Continue reading “RESEARCH: Cheetahs are the fastest land mammal but cheetah cub survival rates are low”
Why doesn’t the Meerkat get stung when eating scorpions?
The Slender-Tailed Meerkat (Suricata suricatta) is a small mammal in the Herpestidae family of meerkats. The Meerkat is a small Mongoose. It lives in the deserts of southern Africa.
The Meerkat digs for food, such as lizards, snakes, scorpions, spiders, eggs, small mammals, centipedes, and millipedes.
Scorpions live in the deserts of southern Africa too. They have a venomous tail. The Meerkat is immune to (not affected by) the venom of the scorpion. Also, Meerkat parents teach their young to hunt and eat scorpions.
Continue reading “Why doesn’t the Meerkat get stung when eating scorpions?”
The African Whip Spider (Damon variegatus) is an arachnid in the Phrynichidae family. It is not a true spider because it does not produce silk or venom. It is also known as the Giant Tailless Whipscorpion but it is not a scorpion.
The African Whip Spider has a large, flattened abdomen and cephalothorax, with eight legs. It has six ambulatory (walking) legs and two tactile legs that are longer than the others and act like feelers. It also has two pedipalps which are pincer-like appendages that helps to catch and hold its prey. It is mottled dark-grey to black carapace.
Continue reading “African Whip Spider”
The Dama Mhorr Gazelle (Nanger dama mhorr) is a mammal in the Bovidae family of bovines, including gazelles and antelopes. It is also known as the Mhorr Gazelle, the Mohor Gazelle, and the Addra Gazelle. It is a sub-species of the Dama Gazelle (Nanger dama). It is extinct in the wild and was last seen in the wild in 1968, therefore it is a critically endangered species. It exists in breeding programs in zoos and reserves.
The Dama Mhorr Gazelle is white below with a reddish-brown head and neck. It has a small head with a narrow muzzle (nose). It has large eyes. The male and the female have medium-length curved horns in the shape of an S. It has longer legs and a longer neck than other gazelles. It is an artiodactyl because it has cloven (split) hooves.
Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Dama Mhorr Gazelle”
The East African Dwarf Spider (Microlinyphia aethiopia) is an arachnid in the Linyphiidae family of dwarf spiders.
The East African Dwarf Spider has a dark-brown abdomen with a light-brown carapace (shell). The male has a more pointed abdomen than the female. It has eight brown legs covered with hairs. It has tooth-like pedipalps near its mouth. It has two rows of four eyes to total eight eyes. The back row of eyes is straight and the front row of eyes is slightly curved.
Continue reading “East African Dwarf Spider”
What is Hippo honking?
The Common Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibious) is a large African even-toed ungulate (hoofed) mammal.
The Common Hippo lives half in the water and half out – this is called semi-aquatic. It lives in a group of about 30 individuals, which is called a pod, herd, or bloat.
The Common Hippo makes loud vocal noises, such as grunts, honks, bellows, and squeals.
Continue reading “What is Hippo Honking?”