All Women's Talk

8 Animals I Love from Africa ...

By Kati

I have always wanted to visit Africa. Not only do they have some amazing traditions and celebrations over there, but the wildlife is fantastic! Whether you are looking for cute and fluffy or dangerous and fascinating, there is something that everyone will love, and they are usually surprisingly easy to see. These are my 8 favourites...

1 Cheetah

CheetahPhoto Credit: MOHAMMAD AL-SALEH

Okay, so this one is doubly cute because it’s a baby, and has a fluffy head. The adults are amazing too, though! They are the fastest land animal, running at speeds of 113km an hour, and have amazing eyesight. They are carnivores, and mainly feast on small animals, such as hares. They tend to belong to packs, and ‘protect’ a territory of around 35 square metres. They purr, growl, bark and hiss, but cannot roar like a lion, and typically have four cubs at a time. The best fact? They can go from 0 – 70 in 2 seconds! Wow.

2 Giraffe

GiraffePhoto Credit: ucumari

At school, I always wanted a giraffe. They’d be so useful! They tend to be between four and six metres high, and live for around 28 years. They are fairly fast, running at 55km per hour, and survive from leaves and fruit found at the tops of trees. They only drink water, but can survive for long periods without any. They have blue tongues which can be as long as 40cm, and travel in loose herds, to protect each other. Adult giraffes have no real predators, but will use their necks as a hammer if necessary, or kick out with their front legs. And the babies are adorable!

3 Lion

Lions are surprisingly large animals, with males standing at 1.2 metres tall, and weighing 190kg. The females are slightly smaller, and visibly different, as they have no mane. They hunt in prides, which usually contain a few dominant males, and lots of females. Despite the male lion being stronger, and heavier, the females do most of the hunting. They hunt small animals, such as zebras and wildebeest, but in groups will attack larger animals such as small elephants, giraffes and hippos. If they are starving, they will also hunt mice and hares. The females bring back the meat, and the males get first pick, eating until they are full. The females will then eat, and the cubs will get any leftovers. The lion is the largest African carnivore. I love the strong family ties and hierarchy, and they are fascinating to watch.

4 Hippopotamus

HippopotamusPhoto Credit: belgianchocolate

I’ve always been fascinated with hippos. For a start, they are so huge! They are usually a pinky blue colour, and with a large head and stumpy body, and they weigh around three tonnes. They have very thin skin, which means they dehydrate very fast. For this reason, they like to wallow in water. They eat around 88g of grass every day! They don’t stay still all day, wondering around two or three miles to different water holes. They are still quite fast, galloping at 18mph...that’s pretty fast for a three tonne animal! The babies are so tiny, and very cute, but grow very fast. Don’t be fooled by the animals fairly placid lifestyle, though, they have fierce fights to the death, and have killed more than a few humans!

5 Impala

ImpalaPhoto Credit: Wild Dogger

Impala’s are those cute deer-like creatures who stroll the Savannah. They have a gorgeous body pattern, and the males have large horns. They have a scent gland above their hooves, which means they find it very easy to ‘track’ their herd and find where they are if they have wondered off. Two or three strong males will rule a herd, with twenty or thirty females. Weaker males may be allowed to tag along on the outskirts of the herd, in ‘bachelor herds’. At mating time, the strong males will mate with as many females as it wants, and then allow the weaker males to mate with the rest. This ensures the maximum number of babies. I find the intelligence and hierarchy fascinating with these too!

6 Hyena

Hyena’s are really cute, in an odd way. They have stocky bodies and relatively small heads, but this baby is still adorable! They weigh around 50kg, and have very, very powerful jaws. They can run quite fast, which means that they will often surround prey and run at it, to stress it out and make it easier to bring down. They live in dens or dips underground, and hunt in packs. They make a laughing sound when defending their territory, and often have look outs who will check that no predators or rival packs are on their territory. Ever since seeing them in the Lion King, I’ve wanted to see a pack of them. They are such a unique animal...a kind of cross between dogs and lions!

7 Elephant

Maybe just edging it as my favourites, elephants are a truly amazing animal. African elephants are the largest land mammals, but are also very intelligent and so unique looking! On average, they are three metres tall, and weigh five or six tonnes. Which makes hippos look light! They tend to be grey, and usually have a long trunk, and tusks. They have big ears, around four foot long, which they use to dispel heat. Male elephants are called bulls, and females are called cows. They travel together, usually walking between water hole and water hole, and the whole pack helps to bring up each baby. It’s like a huge extended family! They are also the only mammal with a lifespan that compares to ours. I’d love a baby elephant for a pet!

8 Vervet Monkeys

You know those monkeys at the zoo that are always being naughty, and very playful? Well, these monkeys live like that every day. They are a medium to large monkey, with the average one being around 24 inches in size and weighing 17 kilos. They are grey, with a slightly green tinge, and have black hands, feet and faces. Most of the time, they feed on flowers, leaves and insects, but they can also eat small birds and rodents. They set up ‘home’ anywhere with a water source and plenty of trees, and are always having fun. The babies are oh-so-cute, too!

I’d love to go on a trip around Africa to meet all of these animals...seeing them in their natural environment would be amazing, and the guides are always full of information! You’d get some amazing photographs to wow people back home with, too. Have you got a favourite African animal? Please let me know which one it is!

Top Photo Credit: B℮n

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