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Aug. 20, 2009

Photoblog: African Animals

by Austen Saltz

Click to enlarge images

The continent of Africa is known for its diversity of animal species, many of which are only found in Africa. These are the photos taken by one of our staff members who has traveled to Africa. Many of the animals pictured here are endangered, such as the lion, the elephant, the mountain gorilla, the cheetah, and the rhinoceros. We think that learning more about these amazing animals will help everyone to appreciate their conservation.

42Lake Manyara (4)

White Tailed Deer

White Tailed Deer are herbivores. Their stomachs only allow them to digest a varied diet like leaves, twigs, fruit, and nuts. Young deer are called fawns. Their tails wag when they sense danger.

Zebras

Each zebra’s stripes are unique, like fingerprints. They are social animals that spend a lot of time in herds. They eat grass and groom one another. A zebra’s family will come to its defense if it is attacked.

45Lake Manyara (7)

Baboons

Baboons are some of the world’s largest monkeys. They eat fruit, grasses, seeds, and roots, but also have a taste for meat. Males generally show physical power to dominate opponents.

54Lake Manyara (16)

Giraffes

Giraffes are the world’s tallest mammals. They only need to drink water once every few days because they get most of their water from the plants they eat. Female giraffes give birth standing up, so the young are born falling five feet to the ground.

62Lake Manyara (24)

Vervet Monkeys

Vervet monkeys eat and sleep in trees. Grooming is very important. They spend several hours picking dirt off their coats. They rarely drink water.

Grants Gazelle

Grants gazelles are found on open grass that is not very high. Their diets change according to season. They are a potential source of protein for humans. The closest relationships these animals form are between a mother and her most recent offspring.

69elephant 1

Elephants

Elephant are the largest land animals on Earth. Their ears give off heat to help keep them cool. The females go through 22 months of pregnancy and at birth the young weigh 200 pounds.

86Nongorongoro Crater (15)

Hyenas

Hyenas eat other predators’ leftovers. They live in much of Africa, and throughout Arabia and India. They are closely related to cats and groups of hyenas are run by the females.

95Nongorongoro Crater (24)

Water Buffaloes

Water buffaloes have been domesticated for more than 5,000 years because of their strength and survival skills. They spend most of their day submerged in muddy waters of tropical forests. They are endangered and live in only a few protected areas.

99lioness 1

Lions

Lions are the only cats that live in groups. These groups are called prides. Female lions do most of the hunting.

102Nongorongoro Crater (30)

Wildebeest

Wildebeest travel in herds and are active day and night. The young learn to walk within minutes of their birth.

116Nongorongoro Crater (42)

Hippos

Hippos spend up to 16 hours a day submerged in rivers to keep their bodies cool against the sun. Soon after birth they join groups called schools to provide protection against crocodiles, lions, and hyenas.

118Nongorongoro Crater (44)

Ostrich

Ostrich are the world’s largest birds. They cannot fly but are very strong runners. Their eyes are the largest of any land mammal, almost two inches wide. Their kicks can kill a human or potential predator like a lion, because of their sharp claws.

122Nongorongoro Crater (1)

Jackal

Jackals are native to southeastern Europe, Asia, and Africa. Scavengers like hyenas, jackals are territorial and mark and defend their territory.

KENYA57Amboselli Park (27)

Thompson’s Gazelle

Thompson’s gazelle can reach a speed of up to 40 mile an hours. They are found in Africa and Asia. There are 19 different species.

Photos by Danielle Dana, captions by Betty Diop and Rosalee Washington

About Austen Saltz

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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