African Wildlife Facts

The African Savannah is home to some incredible animals, such as the giraffe which has a tongue of up to 21 inches in length, reports the National Zoo in their website section about African wildlife.  Giraffes use their tongues for reaching vegetation in trees, at a level above where other animals feed.

cheetahCloser to the ground, the world’s fastest land mammal achieves top speed in brief but intense bursts. Cheetahs are actually built more like greyhounds than typical cats, even though it’s classified as a large cat. Cheetahs’ stalking and running ability is legendary, but when they take their catch into the bush to eat they can be bothered by vultures, lions and hyenas stealing their dinner.

Although all the animals are appealing, one of the most beautiful African wildlife is the Scimitar-Horned Oryx that has curved horns that grow to several feet long. This desert antelope is able to raise their body temperature by several degrees, up to 116 degrees Fahrenheit, to conserve water by avoiding sweating. Extinct in the wild, the Scimitar-Horned Oryx lives and breeds at zoos including the National Zoo.

Lemurs, which live in the wild only on Madagascar, have binocular vision, grasping hands, and a moist, very sensitive nose. They communicate vocally as well as through scent markings. As with too many fascinating animals, they are endangered due to deforestation as well as hunting and even pet trade trapping.

Lots more information is available on the National Zoo’s website, so feel free to check it out. Enjoy it!

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Alison Wheatley

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