What’s the difference between a Thomson’s Gazelle and a Grant’s Gazelle?

The Thomson’s Gazelle (Gazella thomsonii) is cinnamon-coloured and the Grant’s Gazelle (Gazella granti) is sand-coloured.

The Thomson’s Gazelle lacks white on its body above the tail. The Grant’s Gazelle has white above the tail.

The Thomson’s Gazelle has a black tail. The Grant’s Gazelle has a white tail with a black tuft.

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Lesser Striped Swallow

The Lesser Striped Swallow (Cecropis abyssinica) is a partially migratory bird that breeds in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Lesser Striped Swallow has dark blue upperparts with a red rump and a rufous-chestnut crown, nape and sides of the head. The underparts are white with dark streaking, and the upper wings and underwing flight feathers are blackish-brown.

The blackish tail has very long outer feathers, which are slightly longer in the male than the female. The Lesser Striped Swallow has heavier and darker striping, a deeper red rump, and a brighter head colour than the larger Greater Striped Swallow (Hirundo cucullata).

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What’s the difference between African Skinks: Eastern Striped Skink and Five-Lined Skink?

What’s the difference between the African Eastern Striped Skink and the African Five-Lined Skink?

The African Eastern Striped Skink (Trachylepis striata striata) and the African Five-Lined Skink are lizards found in East Africa and southern Africa. They are similar in size and colour.

The African Eastern Striped Skink has two yellowish stripes that run lengthwise on either side of the spine, whereas the Five-Lined Skink has five lines.

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Long-Tailed Cormorant

The Long-Tailed Cormorant (Phalacrocorax africanus africanus) is a large African wetlands bird with a long tail. It is also known as the Reed Cormorant.

It has black glossy feathers with some green iridescence. Its beak is yellow and smaller than the beak of the Great Cormorant. Its eyes are red, and its webbed feet are black.

It can grow to 56 centimetres (22 inches) tall, with an 85 centimetre (34 inch) wingspan.

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Ring-Tailed Lemur

The Ring-Tailed Lemur (Lemur catta) is only found of the southwestern side of the island of Madagascar, off the coast of continental Africa.

The Ring-Tailed Lemur has a long narrow face with a protruded black nose. Its fur is called pelage. The pelage is grey or brown, with a white or cream face and underbelly. Its orange-brown eyes are masked with black triangular patches.

It has leathery hands and feet that help it climb in trees and along the ground. It spends a third of the time on the ground. Its fingers are slender, padded, and semi-dexterous with flat, human-like toenails. The thumb is not opposable (like the opposable thumbs of humans) because the ball of the joint is fixed in place.

It is a primate mammal with a long, black and white ringed tail of 12-13 white rings and 13-14 black rings. The tail always ends with a black tip. The Ring-Tailed Lemur’s tail is longer than its body. It is 39-46 centimetres (15-18 inches) long and its tail is 56-63 centimetres (22-25 inches) long.

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Eastern Grey Squirrel

The Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is a tree squirrel native to North America and Europe. It is considered to be an invasive species in Great Britain where it has displaced the red squirrel.

The Eastern Grey Squirrel has grey-brown fur with white fur on its underbelly. It has a large bushy tail. It has four toes on its front feet and five toes on its back (hind) feet.

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Central African Warthog

The Central African Warthog (Phacochoerus africanus massaicus) is a wild pig found in grassland, savanna, and woodland in Kenya and Tanzania.

The Central African Warthog is heavy-set, medium-sized black or brown hog, ranging from 1.0-1.5 metres (3-5 feet) long, with a mane of hair along its spine. The rest of the body has minimal hair.

It has two pairs of upward-curving tusks protruding from the mouth. One pair of tusks is the upper pair, and the second pair of tusks is the lower pair, which is shorter than the upper pair. The tusks, made of ivory, are used for digging, courtship, and fighting.

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Cow and Yak – what’s the difference?

The domestic Yak (Bos grunniens) is similar to domestic cattle, such as cows and bulls (Bos taurus or Bos primegenius).

They are both bovids or bovines.

They are both mammals with udders (that provide milk for their calves).

They both eat grass – they are herbivorous grazers.

They are both ungulates – they both have cloven hooves.

The domestic Yak grunts, whereas domestic cattle moo.

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The Domestic Yak (Bos grunniens) and the Wild Yak (Bos mutus) are large, long-haired bovids, similar to cattle and bison. The Yak is found in the Himalayas, Mongolia, and Russia. Bos grunniens means grunting ox, and Bos mutus means mute (silent) ox.

The Yak is an ungulate because it has a cloven hoof, like cows. It looks like a hairy cow. Their shaggy hair keeps them warm, because they live in cold climates.

Wild Yaks are black or dark brown, whereas domestic Yaks can be rust-brown, grey, and cream. The Yak has small ears and a wide forehead, with smooth dark-coloured horns. It has a short neck with humped shoulders.

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The Chimpanzee (Pan troglodyte) is a mammal and a primate. It is in the family called Pongidae, which means Great Ape.

The Chimpanzee had black fur and is medium-sized. All great apes have a thick brow ridge of hollow bone that lies above the eyes. This ridge provides protection to their eyes.

It has front facing dark eyes, a small pink nose, and rounded ears. It has no tail. It has five digits on each limb, with an extended big toe.

Great apes are not monkeys. Great apes (Hominids) include humans, chimpanzees (2 species), gorillas (2 species), and orangutans (2 species). Chimpanzees are not related to gibbons (16 species of lesser apes), baboons, or monkeys.

They are most closely related to humans, sharing 98.6% of human DNA.

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Eastern Black-and-White Colobus Monkey

The Eastern Black-and-White Colobus Monkey (Colobus guereza) comes from eastern Africa, in countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ethiopia.

The Eastern Black-and-White Colobus Monkey is large, black and white, with a very long hairy tail.

They grow to about 61 centimetres (24 inches). The tail is as long as its body and head, totalling another 61 centimetres. The tail has a white tuft at its end.

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Lizard tails and Autotomy

Some lizards, when alarmed or startled, can drop off their entire tail, or part of it.

This is called autotomy.

It is quite common and it does not cause any pain.

The part that comes off, wriggles away for a few minutes as if it is a small lizard. The wriggling is intentional and is caused by muscle contractions (squeezing).

It is a trick, so that lizards can escape and hide. Predators chase the wriggling part and not the lizard.

A new tail grows back, but it is sometimes a different color to the first tail. If a tail is broken off accidentally, another tail grows back.



Photographer: Martina Nicolls