Weird and Wonderful: Dozing Lions and Speeding Spots

Natural Selection
March 05, 2019

Looking at the stately Secretary Bird, it’s easy to understand the common misconception that its  name comes from the quills behind its ears looking like the pencils a secretary might tuck behind her own (in pre-computer days at least), but it’s most likely derived from an Arabic word that means ‘snake hunter’.

 

Besides the difference in size, lions are the only cats that have a marked difference between the genders, making those luxuriant manes even more special.

 

Africa is home to four of the five fastest land animals on Earth: the cheetah, wildebeest, lion and the Thomson’s gazelle. Perhaps it should be renamed ‘the speedy continent’?

 

The Nile crocodile is Africa’s largest reptile, reaching an average length of five metres. We’d nominate them amongst the most terrifying as well!

 

The baking African sun may not be an image that sits comfortably alongside that of a penguin, but surprisingly enough they can be found in South Africa.

 

Wildebeest are able to get up and run just minutes after they’re born. Within days they’re fast enough to keep up with the herd, and can sometimes do so even sooner.

 

Beautiful they may be, but lions are also spectacularly lazy, and rest for an average of 20 hours per day. How’s that for getting in your beauty sleep?