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7 Lesser Known Animals You Could See on Safari

7 Lesser Known Animals You Could See on Safari
February 6, 2017 8:00 am
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This week’s blog is on the seven lesser known animals that you could get the chance to see on safari. It is well-known that if you are to take a safari holiday that you are likely to see lions, elephants, Cape buffalos, leopards and rhinos but there are many other animals that you may get the opportunity to take a closer look at whilst on your journey…

First up we have the African wild dog which is now considered to be one of the world’s most endangered mammals. The largest populations of these animals are in southern Africa and southern East Africa. With both local domestic farmers hunting them as well as their natural habitat being slowly but surely taken away by humans their population is decreasing. These dogs are highly sociable animals and gather in packs of between 10 and 40 dogs, they are also highly intelligent and the way in which they communicate between each other is incredible. Although they have a decreasing population, when you are next on safari don’t be surprised if you see one of these bright mottle furred mammals…

The Honey Badger (also known as the Ratel) is, despite its size, known for being Africa’s most fearless animal and has even earned the title of being the “most fearless animal in the world” according to the Guinness Book of Records. They prove this title by aggressively standing their ground should any other species from hyenas and lions and leopards pick a fight with them; their sharp teeth and long claws are formidable weapons. They have an extremely wide diet from scorpions to rodents and birds. Honey Badgers have a striking colour pattern being jet black (some are more dark brown) with a grey back which makes them easily recognisable by you when you next see them on safari – they are though generally nocturnal and therefore sightings can be rare.

The African serval is a wild cat, which is mainly identified by its small head relative to its body size, incredibly long legs and a more dispersed pattern of spots on its fur than other cats. They can normally be found in most parts of Africa, from areas of dry grassland to areas around the equatorial rainforests to woodland savanna. The servals are successful predators with their long legs and big ears and prey on small creatures from rodents and birds to reptiles. The serval is often preyed on by leopards and other large cats as it is so easy to catch and unfortunately, they have been hunted in the past for their fur. This cat has a widespread population and is one of the most beautiful animals you will most likely get the chance to see on your next safari trip.

The bat-eared fox is an adorable little animal known for its enormous ears and zig-zag running patterns. Bat-eared foxes can often be found in the short-grass savannas and scrublands in eastern and southern Africa and can often be found amongst other bat-eared foxes as, unlike other dog species they are happy to share territory. Around 70% of the bat-eared fox’s diet is made up of termites and they can hear them crawling around as their large ears gives them excellent hearing. Hyenas, jackals and eagles are the main predators for bat-eared foxes but they have special dens within their territory that they burrow using their strong claws and these dens are protected mostly from predators. This is a cute little animal and is definitely an entertaining one to watch.

The hyena is an intelligent predator which are known for their interesting dynamics within their clans, with the females outranking the males, and their complex social hierarchies. Their social dynamics makes them an extremely interesting species to watch, especially when they are preparing for a hunt. They often hunt together and are considered to be bold and dangerous animals who often pick on a wide range of different animals as prey. Hyenas can adapt to almost any habitat and so are one of the largest spread animals in African as they can easily mark territory anywhere from woodlands to mountains. As far as predators go, the hyena is a pretty brutal one and their clans can successfully take out animals like hippos and wildebeest. The main threat to hyenas is that of lions, there mortal enemies, and occasionally humans who feel in danger by the presence of them. The hyena is a complex animal and an interesting one to watch for their social interactions and hunting techniques.

The caracal is another wild cat that is one you will definitely want to get a look at on your next safari trip. You won’t mistake the caracal for any other wild cat species as with its strange pointed ears and its distinctive black and white facial markings it is easily differentiated from other wild cats. They live in drier savanna regions and the woodland areas of sub-Saharan Africa but are solitary animals, apart from mothers with their kittens. They prey on a variety of different mammals and are not afraid of taking on animals bigger than themselves such as springbok. These are interesting looking cats and one to look out for…

Last, but certainly not least is the pangolin which is unfortunately, considered to be the world’s most hunted animal for use in medicine in African and China as well as for meat and for their scales. They are nocturnal animals and well-disguised when they are curled up in a ball on the ground or hanging in trees. When they are being hunted they will use their sharp scales on their back to lash out to protect themselves; this usually works with the big cats that try and prey on them as they cannot bite through the scales! They are critically endangered and it is not common for them to be spotted!