Various sightings on game drives from Tau Game Lodge

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A bull kudu has majestic horns that spiral in an elongated pattern and can grow as long as 1.8 meters. It’s the shape of these horns that inspired their scientific name – Tragelaphus strepsiceros. It is broken down as follows; Trag (goat), elaphos (deer), strephis (twisting), and keras (horns).

 

 

 

Striding out… This Blacksmiths Plover was looking for a meal in the shallow water along the edge of on of the Madikwe Dams.

The vernacular name, in isiZulu is iNdudumela and  derives from the repeated metallic ‘tink, tink, tink’ alarm call, which suggests a blacksmith’s hammer striking an anvil.

 

 

 

Lions have fewer cones so see less colour, but they are not colour blind. Lions see combinations of two colours because they have a dichromatic vision, which allows them to see colour variations.

They do have great night vision, especially as they also have a reflective coating at the back of the eye which concentrates low light (such as moonlight for example) back to the retina. Their pupils are also able to dilate far larger than ours.

 

 

 

When a crocodile is basking, or laying in the sun, it is raising its body temperature. When it wants to cool back down it can move out of the sun into the shade or a body or water. Another option for the crocodile is to open its mouth. This behavior is a way for the crocodile to release the heat from its body.

Did you know? Alligators and crocodiles are known to swallow stones, which are called “gastroliths” when they settle in the creature’s stomach. Some birds do this, too, but to help grind up their food.

The South African animals with the strongest bite force are:

Nile crocodile: 3700-4000 psi

Hippo: 1825 psi

Spotted Hyena: 1100 psi

Lion: 650 psi

Cheetah: 475 psi

Wild Dog: 317 psi

Leopard: 300.

Actually both gorillas (1300 psi ) and chimps ( 1300 psi ) feature on this list, but neither are found in South Africa.

And humans? We come in way down the list at 160 psi.

 

 

 

A Cape Glossy Starling scrabbles through the soil looking for insects that have been disturbed by animals heading towards a nearby waterhole.

 

 

 

It is easy to have such a supercilious look on your face when you are backed up by a mother that weighs in at 1700kg.

 

 

 

Red Hartebeest are extremely fast runners, and can reach speeds of up to 65 km/h and have the stamina to maintain that speed over long distances. Red hartebeest are pure grazers, and can live without water, as long as they can take their required moisture from their food.

Fun fact #236: The name Hartebeest was thought to refer to the heart shaped curve of the horns but the accepted theory now is that it comes from the Dutch word ‘hert’ which means deer in Dutch and ‘beest’ meaning beast.

 

 

 

The African elephant is the world’s largest land animal – with adult bull elephants, standing up to 3m high and weighing up to 6,000kg on average. Males only reach their full size at 35-40 years – that’s well over half their lifespan, as wild elephants can live for up to 60-70 years.

 

 

 

A sliver of a new moon hangs in the sky over the mountain range that forms part of the Madikwe Game Reserve.

 

 

 

Look carefully and you will see that the left tusk of the leading elephant is broken.

Guests often ask if the tusk will regrow and the answer in no. Elephant tusks are actually teeth that extend beyond their mouths. They are connected to the skull and have nerve endings, just like our own teeth.

 

 

 

While visitors are at the Spa getting pampered, this zebra was having a dust bath to rid himself of parasites.

 

 

 

Fun Facts. The helmeted Guinea fowl is capable of strong flight, but it is mainly terrestrial often choosing to run rather than fly.

 

 

 

Would you believe that rhinos are related to horses. This is because both species are odd-toed ungulates.

This particular individual looks most unhappy. Perhaps he needs a holiday in an urban setting? If humans go to the bush to relax, does it not make sense that animals might seek peace and quite from predation in a suburban garden? Perhaps not…

 

 

 

Their stripes perhaps serve to dazzle and confuse predators and biting insects, or to control the animal’s body heat. Because each individual’s stripes are unique, their stripes may also have a social purpose, helping zebras to recognize one other.

There always has to be a butt shot in a wildlife post, and this is that image.

 

 

 

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