Photo: Andre Marais/Shutterstock

16 Mind-Blowing Facts About African Wildlife

Africa Travel
by James Bailey Mar 24, 2015

1. The stomach acid of a vulture is strong enough to destroy many dangerous diseases such as anthrax and cholera, which they may ingest when eating a carcass.

2. Female baboons with a young black baby will be temporarily elevated in status due to the other baboons’ fascination in her baby.

3. Research suggests that 74-94% of male giraffe like having sex with one another.

4. During the chase a cheetah can be off the ground for as much as 50% of the time.

5. Bush babies practice “urine-washing.” This is the process by which they urinate into cupped hands before wiping it on their feet. When they climb and jump through the trees they mark their territory.

6. When there is a dispute over who should take over from a deceased alpha female dwarf mongoose a groom-off will ensue. The two combatants could groom each other for up to four days. The winner will be the one that proves themselves more persistent. Both will end drenched in saliva.

7. To protect the giraffe’s brain from sudden changes in blood pressure when it lowers its head to drink, it has valves to stop the backflow of blood and elastic-walled vessels that dilate and constrict to manage flow. NASA has done research on the blood vessels in giraffe legs to get inspiration for human space suits.

8. It is still not proven but one technique that the honey badger is believed to utilise when raiding beehives is to first fumigate it using their foul-smelling anal glands.

9. Wild dogs have developed large stomachs to transport food back to the den. They then regurgitate it for the pups and stay-at-home dogs. They can do this for great distances so long as they don’t rest. At that point the digestive process will begin.

10. The word chameleon is derived from the Greek, khamai, meaning “on the ground” or “dwarf” and leon meaning “lion.” Chameleon therefore translates as “dwarf lion.” This is said to be due to its ferocious behaviour.

11. Elephants do not have sweat glands but they do cool down when water evaporates off their body. In times of extreme conditions, they sometimes put their trunk down their throat and suck water up which they then squirt over their body.

12. Whilst most birds have four toes the ostrich only has two. This appears to be an adaptation for running. However, they run on just one toe with the second used for balance.

13. When in long grass, vervet monkeys will stand erect to get a better view. Likewise, when running they will jump off their hind legs to get elevation in a practice called “spyhopping.”

14. It’s believed that modern big cats have evolved from a leopard prototype which was well adapted for taking the smaller prey that the sabre-toothed could not catch.

15. Horns first evolved in the dinosaurs and then in rhinos.

16. Piglets are very playful animals, playing together and on their own. The latter may include a game of “whirling,” tail chasing.

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