Horns and stripes and other things.
We hope you will allow us to indulge ourselves by sharing some of our thoughts on the wonders of the natural world, especially the variety of markings, shapes and sizes.
Nature is a wonderful thing, creating these animals with markings and horns for a particular purpose. What is so amazing is that no two creatures are alike.
You wouldn’t think that the horns on this buffalo and roan in Mokala
are made of the same stuff, keratin, but totally different in style.
Also the very straight horns of the gemsbok which we featured in the rare species nugget and, of course, those fantastic curved horns of the sable as shown in earlier episodes.
Why do zebras have stripes and why so different? The scientists say that the black and white stripes (or are they white and black stripes?) are meant to confuse the predators as they dash around the bush to escape being the meal. The stripes are also there to help them blend into the bush. Look at the contrast in the markings of those in Mokala
and those in the Kruger
. Here the markings are much more strident.
Couldn’t resist including this bum shot! One looks as if it is too much effort to stand up to drink.
And now for a ‘Pumbaa’ moment….(apologies to Pumbaa!) This warthog has tremendous tusks. They are not only used for defending themselves but excavating roots etc from the earth. Wouldn’t like to be on the wrong end of them!
We noticed those in Mokala
were much bigger than those in the Kruger
These two groups of buffalo near Punda Maria looked a little interested as we drove by but not the biggest horns we have ever seen.
Giraffes are a good example of how a species has evolved to reach their food in higher places. To think that these creatures have the same number of vertebrae in their necks as us humans. Nature has developed a wonderful patchwork on their skins and, despite their size they move so gracefully and are always ready to pose.
(There are only a very few giraffe in Mokala.
It’s not often you see a giraffe lying down. We spotted this one on the S44 near the Oliphants look-out.
A close up
And some long necks
We stopped to have lunch at the Oliphants Camp with the lovely view of the river. We noticed what looked like a nursery of hippos. One adult seemed to be minding several youngsters while the other parents were some distance away. Then they came out to graze.
Every time we visit the parks we marvel at the variety of creatures and how they have evolved to enable them to exist in a harsh environment. Evolution has provided us with such riches. We are very spoilt.
Lots of other antelope, with their magnificent horns and colourings, could have been included in this episode, but we have seen them in the Rare Breeds nugget.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about some or our thoughts behind these pictures. Perhaps four-legged creatures aren’t the only ones with long necks……..