To all the blog readers and their families – I hope you had an awesome festive season and, like me, you are excited about the year ahead. This year we will add-on to previous blogs like geology, plants and animals. We will also add a few new blogs and look at stars in the Southern Hemisphere or find some interesting bugs. I will try and write some interesting factual blogs so that you can enjoy reading them and look out for things discussed while travelling with us through Southern Africa.
General Animal Facts:
- Animals that are found in a specific area and nowhere else is seen as an Endemic animal.
(think about the Oryx – it is only found in Southern Africa – Endemic or Native)
- Animals that were not introduced by humans to a particular area and are naturally found there are seen as Indigenous.
(The African water buffalo occurs naturally in Africa – Indigenous)
- Animals that are introduced to areas outside of their native ranges are called non -indigenous, invasive species or alien species but is probably best known as Exotic Species.
(The first sheep in South Africa were introduced by the Northern San People – Non-Indigenous)
Are you home or not?
Whether we call these animals Endemic or Indigenous they all must have a place which they can call their own. Please keep in mind that animals do not have houses as we do and usually you will find them in a different place each day. That being said, sometimes when a baby needs care, animals may use the same place for a few days. Think of a lion or hyena den.
When an animal defends its general area from its own species they have a territory. If it does not defend the area from its own species, it uses the area as a home range.
I need to protect myself and my family. Man, I am hungry!
If you are the food and live to share your home range with predators, you have a challenge. If you are a predator and the meals on wheels are really fast, you have a challenge.
To overcome these obvious problems, animals use their skin, fur and bodily patterns in colours to hide or hunt more successfully. We call this action camouflage.
To camouflage, I need to?
The most common form of camouflage is where the animal blends in with vegetation or the ground colour on which it finds itself. This is called concealing colouration. Think of a lion preparing to pounce.
Some animals use camouflage that appears two dimensional like the Springbok or Impala antelope. In this case, the top of the body and the bottom of the body is two different colours. The darker soil matches the back if viewed from above and the lighter sky matches the belly when seen from below.
This makes it more difficult to see the animal and it appears flattened to the ground, we call this camouflage countershading.
A successful camouflage technique for both the predator and the prey is to break up the body outline. For animals to be able to see each other clearly, animals rely mostly on movement and shape. If it uses its spots or stripes etc, to blend into the background it has a big chance to disguise itself. This type of camouflage is known as disruptive colouration.
Last but not least animals can also look like something in their surroundings and have the same colouration. Using this method the animal will disguise itself to be less detectable by predators.
We call this the disguise method of camouflage.
To the reader:
What does geophagy mean?
What animal will make use of the Osteophagy method?
Keep reading these blogs and find out……
Author: Reinier Bredenkamp