South Africa is a land generous, mysterious, wonderful and beautiful. This is why we have so many tourists eager to visit.
Hundreds of amphibians, insects, reptiles, mammals and bird species live in our alluring land.
A few quick interesting animal facts you may not have known:
🐾 The Giraffe
Giraffes have a black colored tongue and antiseptic saliva! Together with the thick lips, the teeth and the tongue , this protects the giraffe’s mouth from the prickly thorns on trees.
🐾 The Leopard
Because of its adapted retinas, leopards can see seven times better in the dark than humans.
🐾 The Hippo
Hippos can run really fast, despite being bulky and rotund. In fact, they can reach speeds of about 32 kilometres (or 20 miles) per hour.
🐾 The Cheetah
The fastest land animal in the world, a cheetah can reach 112km/h in just three seconds – that’s faster than a sports car accelerates! Its body has evolved for speed, with long legs, an elongated spine, adapted claws to grip the ground and a long tail for balance.
Crocodiles can hold their breath under water for about 10 minutes at a time.
🐾 The Vulture
A group of vultures is called a venue, and when circling the air, a group of vultures is called a kettle.
🐾 The Elephant
The African Elephant is the largest living land mammal on earth. The Elephant’s muscular trunk serves as a nose, hand, extra foot, signaling device and a tool for gathering food, siphoning water, dusting, digging and a variety of other functions. The elephant’s very large ears are used to radiate excess heat away from the body. Elephant behaviour is associated with a unique animal intelligence that displays grief, compassion, self-awareness, play, to name a few.
🐾 The Rhino
For the most part, rhinoceroses are solitary animals and like to avoid each other. But some species, particularly the white rhino, may live in a group, known as a ‘crash’. These crashes are usually made up of a female and her calves. Adult females are called cows.
Males (called ‘bulls’), on the other hand, like to be left alone, unless in search of a female to breed with. They are very territorial.
Oxpeckers (or ‘tick birds’) perch on their back and live off the pesky parasitic insects living in the rhino’s thick skin. The birds’ loud cries also help alert their rhino friends of potential danger.
The protection of rhinos helps safeguard other species including elephants, buffalo, and small game. Rhinos contribute to economic growth and sustainable development through tourism, which creates job opportunities and provides tangible benefits to local communities living alongside rhinos.
Poaching, driven by consumer demand for rhino horn primarily in Asia, poses the biggest threat to rhinos. Most of these horns find their way into the illegal market in Vietnam, where criminal networks grind up the horns for use in traditional medicines or sell them as a high-value gift item. China is an important consumer market as well, where rhino horn enters art and antique markets and is sometimes acquired as an investment purchase.
Rhino horns are similar in structure to horses’ hooves, turtle beaks and cockatoo bills.
Rhino horn is primarily made of keratin, the protein that also makes up hair and nails.
Unsurprisingly, there is no scientific evidence to support the idea of rhino horn having aphrodisiac powers.