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How do these animals survive?

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How do these animals survive?

Unread post by RUG » Sat Sep 03, 2016 6:31 pm

How there! I've just come back from a long trip through South Africa and Namibia and there was one question that I kept asking myself. How do certain animals manage to not be killed?

Take for example a rock monitor. It makes a lot of noise when moving around and is often seen in the open. When approached it doesn't even try to run away. Isn't it an easy target for predators? And it doesn't seem to have any defence mechanisms. It can't outrun a cat. I'm sure it's bite isn't strong enough to chase away a big cat. It's too small to use its size as a defence, and too big to hide easily. It doesn't have spikes like a porcupine or musk like a polecat. So why isn't this species extinct yet?

And what about eland? Can such a heavy (and clumsy looking) animal outrun a lion? Or are they that well camouflaged that lions just don't see them despite their size? Are their small horns really enough to scare away a lion? I don't understand why a pride of lion wouldn't be able to wipe out a herd of eland.

These are just some thoughts I had during my long drives through the wild.

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Re: How do these animals survive?

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:51 am

Hi RUG, very interesting questions. :hmz:

Many creatures rely on their ability to blend into the background, which is why they will freeze if they detect a predator around. The rock monitor is more vulnerable when young. I have seen them making snake like hissing sounds that probably act as a warning that they have snake like possibilities. Many of their enemies are in the air. Eagles love them. The folliage gives them good covering.

You bring up a very good point around the eland. They are vulnerable, because of their size and lack of speed. This is one of the reasons why certain waterholes in the dry regions of the Park were closed. Their ability to survive lies in their adaptation to dryness. When their was a plentiful supply of water, the lions moved in and had a great time tucking in to these gentle giants.

Without the constant supply of water, the lions will be forced to move back into water friendly areas.
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Re: How do these animals survive?

Unread post by salamanda » Sun Sep 04, 2016 12:48 pm

You must have had a really interesting trip RUG. I think survival is a fascinating subject and could raise many questions and observations as you went along.

Re. Eland : their horns are very strong and have sharp tips and they can, with a sweep of their head disembowel a predator. They also have the longest flight or escape distance of all the prey mammals, possibly because they are not fast. Another escape mechanism is the way in which they can jump; they can leap over high obstacles even from a standing position. I would imagine that all these factors would help with survival.

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