For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Videos: YouTube

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A visit to the zoo - Part 6

A member of the dwarf antelope group, Steenbok (Raphicerus campestris) are petite, weighing 7-16 kg and measuring 70-95 cm in length. Unlike the crouched stance of forest duikers, steenbok carry their heads high and have long legs, with a shoulder height between 45 and 60 cm. The hind quarters and lower parts/belly are pure white. The male Steenbok have upright, slender horns projecting above the eyes. Conspicuous black, facial glands are situated in front of the large, dark brown eyes. These pre-orbital glands are noticeable in both sexes.
The Bat-Eared Fox (Otocyon megalotis)has a silver-gray fluffy coat, a black-tipped bushy tail with a black stripe on top. An outstanding feature is the enormous ears, which are black on the outside and white inside. The long, sharp muzzle is black on top and white underneath. These smallish creatures are 300 mm high at the shoulders and have a length of 800 mm. Mass is about 3-5 kg. They have tiny teeth restricting their diet to insects, small rodents and fruit. The main food source is harvester termites.
Spotted Hyaenas (Crocuta crocuta) weigh up to 70kg, but average between 45-55kg with the females being slightly larger than the males. Their shoulder height measures between 80 and 90 cm. Their coats are sandy or greyish brown and short with a spotted pattern. They have a very strong build with a thick neck and powerful jaws and have long front legs and short back legs causing their backs to slope. The males and females have very similar genitalia, which can make identification extremely difficult. The Spotted Hyaena has a rough coat, a reddish brown or tan colour with black spots, which gradually lightens with age.
The black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas) are slender creatures, weighing 5 to 10 kg. They are cunning creatures. Their senses are extremely acute and well-developed, especially their senses of hearing and smell. If startled, a jackal will retreat a certain distance and then circle back in a wide arc in order to interpret the scent of the disturbance.
Young female cheetah usually occupy the same range as their mother although ALL females are solitary except when they have a litter. Average female home ranges extend to 833 square kilometers (322 square miles). A female raises her cubs alone since adult male and female cheetahs mix only to mate. The average life span of wild radio-collared female cheetahs is 6.9 years which compares to 11.7 years for females in captivity.
The gardens of the zoo are very colorful and there geraniums around the tree make a pretty sight.

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