A whole new wildlife experience in Africa
The trending BBC news article titled, ‘There are no giraffes in Ghana’ came as an amusing display of glaring ‘faux pas’ on the part of Delta in their World Cup tweet that tagged Ghana with the Giraffe. But honestly, people from other continents deem Africa as a tropical rainforest where it’s still possible to locate cave men, mammoths and things of the like. Whew! Thank God this trending news has opened a grand door to share with the world the awesomeness of the flora and fauna in various vegetation zones across Africa.
It is true that when one wants to take an expedition to Africa, the first thing that comes to mind is that jaunty dream of standing close to a huge elephant, hippopotamus, roaring lions and of course, the ever graceful long-necked one; the giraffe. But you know what, there is so much more to learn about the fauna in Africa beyond what you can imagine!
Apart from the famous giraffe, there are also lemurs, hyenas, mongoose, porcupine, bush baby, baboon, wild chicken, boar and a lot more. Conversely, you may know these wild animals but there are some queer facts that may have escaped you at first. Just brace yourself for some unknown jungle truths you never ever heard of.
Starting with ‘Galagos’ which many know as bush baby, you cannot deny that its small body makes it look really cute.
These nocturnal “babies” primates are native to continental Africa. Some people say that the name “bush baby” comes from either its cries or appearance. You would not believe it but if you woke up in the middle of the night to hear its cry, you definitely may be tempted to think that someone dropped a baby at your door! The South African name ‘nagapie’ comes from the fact that they are almost exclusively seen at night. According to the African Wildlife Foundation, bush babies are the most successful primitive primates in Africa.
Hyenas are cursorial hunters that catch prey with their teeth rather than claws. They have calloused feet with large, blunt, nonretractable nails adapted for running and making sharp turns. So don’t try getting chased by one if you are not an expert in making fast sharp curves. lol
Alright back to the point, hyenas’ grooming, scent marking, defecating habits, mating, and parental behaviour are consistent with the behaviour of other feliforms. Although long reputed to be cowardly scavengers, hyenas, especially spotted hyenas, kill as much as 95% of the food they eat, and have been known to drive off leopards or lionesses from their kills. Hyenas are primarily nocturnal animals, but may venture from their lairs in the early-morning hours. With the exception of the highly social spotted hyena, hyenas are generally not gregarious animals, though they may live in family groups and congregate at kills.
Monkeys are found on most continents but Geoffroy’s Colobus Monkey of the monkey sanctuary in Ghana have a bizarre myth. Local folklore has it that a hunter, who once lived in Boabeng, came into contact with a spirit called ‘Daworo’ around 1842. One day he went into the forest and saw five monkeys gathered around a pot covered with calico. The hunter was mesmerised and could not shoot them. When he consulted ‘Daworo’ the spirit, it told him to treat the monkeys as relatives. ‘Dawuro’ asked the hunter to take the calico home and when he did, the monkeys followed him home. Miraculously, his fortunes increased as the monkeys increase in number. The hunter attributed fortunes to his association with the monkeys and this led to a symbiotic relationship that has persisted to date. Any monkey that died was buried and funeral rites held for it just as a human being.
Hippopotamus may not strike anyone as a dangerous animal but it is very dangerous. The hippopotamus is one of the most aggressive and unpredictable creatures in the world and, as such, ranks among the most dangerous animals in Africa. Nevertheless, they are still threatened by habitat loss and poaching for their meat and ivory canine teeth.
Ever heard of the mongoose? Well, a Mangoose has a tiny roar but very skillful in battle. They are small carnivoran member of 33 living species in southern Eurasia and mainland Africa. Looking at its size you’d not believe it if you were told it can kill a cobra without sweat. If you’re in doubt, just take a look at this video.
But for my graceful giraffe, he walks about full of huff around some parts of west, east and southern Africa for misrepresentation. lol.