Wildlife of South Africa
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (August 2012)|
The Cape buffalo, also known as the African cook, is a powerful animal that has few natural enemies. Their power and size means that they are very much able to defend themselves. They have been known to kill lions, hyena, humans, and other wild predators. Because of this they have taken their place in the African big five, elephants, lions, Cape buffalo, rhinoceroses, and leopards. (The big five are known to be some of the most dangerous and aggressive animals in Africa.) Another African name for the Cape buffalo is black death, because of their color and their aggressive behavior.
The African oryx gazella also known as gemsbuck or gemsbok are African plains animals that travel in groups of 10-45. The gemsbuck's groups are set up with a dominant male and in most cases a few dominant females. Male's horns are straight and pointed at the tip. Because of this they have been known to impale attacking lions. Females horns can be the same but sometimes they are curved backward. There are two different varieties of gemsbok, the southern and the northern. The southern variety have longer horns and the northern have black fringed ears. The northern gemsbok are rarely seen in South Africa.
The kudu are split into two different groups, greater kudu and lesser kudu. The greater kudu are regularly found in South Africa. Like the gemsbok, kudu are African antelope. They are fast and stealthy. They are a brown-grey color with white stripes that go down the center of their body. For those two facts their African name is grey ghost. The males have tall spiraling horns, females regularly have no horns. Kudu are peaceful and are normally not dangerous.
Leopards are the most reclusive of the big cats. They are opportunistic hunters and will prey upon smaller mammals and rodents when other food sources are unavailable. The diet of leopards consists primarily of ungulates such as Thomson's gazelles. Leopards have relatively small physical builds in comparison to lions and therefore choose to hunt nocturnally to prevent the possibility of confrontation. In order to protect themselves and preserve their kills, leopards have developed exceptional climbing skills, allowing them to scale.
There are many kinds of birds in South Africa. Here are a few:
- Ostrich - South Africa has the largest population of ostriches in the world. The ostrich is the largest bird in the world.
- African goshawk - The African goshawk is a bird in the family of raptors such as eagles and buzzards
- Tawny eagle - The tawny eagle is a large bird of prey with a wing span of about 160 to 190 cm
- Black-chested snake-eagle - The black-chested snake-eagle is a medium-sized bird of prey
- Spotted eagle-owl - The spotted eagle owl is an African owl related to the great horned owl of North America
- Eastern green mamba-The eastern green mamba is a medium to large highly venomous arboreal snake found along the eastern coast of the southern part of Africa.
- Black mamba-The black mamba is a large and highly venomous snake that is found a variety of habitats in Africa.
- Cape cobra-The cape cobra is an African cobra about medium-sized and its color depends on where it lives.
- Addo Elephant National Park
- Augrabies Falls National Park
- Bontebok National Park
- Golden Gate Highlands National Park
- Karoo National Park
- Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
- Kruger National Park
- Madikwe Game Reserve
- Mountain Zebra National Park
- Pilanesberg National Park
- Table Mountain National Park
- Tankwa Karoo National Park
- Tsitsikamma National Park
South African endangered species
Scientific name in italics
- Giant golden mole, Chrysospalax trevelyani
- Van Zyl's golden mole, Cryptochloris zyli
- Marley's golden mole, Amblysomus marleyi
- Gunning's golden mole, Neamblysomus gunningi
- Juliana's golden mole, Neamblysomus julianae
- White-tailed rat, Mystromys albicaudatus
- Sei whale, Balaenoptera borealis
- Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus
- Fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus
- African wild dog, Lycaon pictus
- Mountain zebra, Equus zebra