Working for FGASA for the past two years and dealing with their training providers, I have picked up knowledge along the way. As an introduction to 2022, I thought that I would share some of what I had learned with you, my readers.
Joseph and his technicolour tongue? With apologies to Weber and Rice.
Monitors do not blink and they have very good vision. Scientists have observed monitors watching planes in the sky.
Fun fact: African wild dog packs have an 80% success rate when hunting, thanks to their high levels of communication.
The ultimate woke fact? There is no separate name for a male and a female leopard tortoise.
Males and females of the species are commonly referred to as leopard tortoises.
Did you know? Elephants are the only mammals besides humans to have a chin.
Stepping into the light…
Can a leopard change its spots? They can and with almost lightning speed. They are capable of running at speeds of up to 58km/h and can leap 6m horizontally and 3m vertically.
Not a hippo…
Are you aware? It may not be quantum physics, but spotted hyenas are able to count.
Males will do a quick headcount before deciding to join a new clan. They will always join one that has the least number of males.
Hiding in plain sight.
Many guests are introduced to the traditional sport of Kudu dung-spitting while enjoying a sundowner during a game drive.
The rules are simple and the winner is the contestant who is able to spit one of the dung pellets the furthest. For obvious reasons, the dung had to be old and hard, NOT fresh and damp. The current World Record stands at 15.56m, set in Addo, Eastern Cape in 2006 by Shaun van Rensburg.
Run Forrest run…Warthogs can reach speeds of up to 48km/h when running.
It is their speed that often enables them to outrun a predator and reach their burrow safely.
Horning in on the action.
Did you know that there are 5 Rhino species? White rhinos, Black rhinos, Greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan rhinos.
Black and white rhinos are also both grey in colour so one has to look at the shape of the mouth for a more accurate description. The White(grazer) is now referred to as the wide-mouthed, while the Black(browser) is now called a hook-lipped rhino.
Walk tall… A giraffe’s neck has the same amount of vertebrae (seven) as the human neck.
However, in the giraffe, each vertebra is 25cm long whereas the human equivalent is a mere 7cm in size.
On the horns of a dilemma? Buffalo have smooth tongues.
It is, therefore, a myth that they are capable of licking the skin off a man. It is also extremely unusual for a female to have horns of this size.
King of all he surveys… Even though the lion is sometimes referred to as the “king of the jungle,” it actually only lives in grasslands and plains.
The expression may have come from an incorrect association between Africa and jungles or may refer to a less literal meaning of the word jungle.
Mother and child reunion…Although hippos can hold their breath for approximately seven minutes, most adult hippos resurface every three to five minutes to breathe. This is an automatic process – even sleeping hippo surface to breathe without waking.
And that is not all…The hippo’s closest living relatives are whales and porpoises!
Believe it or not! Despite their physical resemblance to pigs and other terrestrial even-toed ungulates, the closest living relatives of the Hippopotamidae are cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises), from which they diverged about 55 million years ago.
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