Weird and Wonderful: Heavy Hippos and Tiny Carnivores

Natural Selection
January 07, 2019

Life in the African bush can be beautiful, heart breaking, and just a little bit weird… but that’s what makes it all so unforgettable.

 

TINY MEATEATERS

They might look adorable, as anyone who’s met our habituated characters at Hyena Pan will attest, but dwarf mongoose are actually Africa’s smallest carnivore! They’re distantly related to the African wild dog and have a similar social structure, with one alpha female who breeds whilst the others help to raise the young.

 

HARD TO REACH AREAS

One of the secrets to the success of impalas in handling life in the bush is their teeth. They have cone-like lower teeth which enable them to groom areas that other animals are unable to reach, thus leaving them less prone to parasites.

 

BIG BONED

They’re certainly solid looking creatures, but did you know that a hippo’s legs are almost solid bone? They have virtually no marrow – a fact that helps them sink. This is handy since they much prefer to be able to walk along the bottom of a lagoon than to swim through it.

 

ZIG ZAG EVASION

Hartebeest have developed a clever tactic to escape from predators by simply running in a zig zag pattern when being chased – something that works surprisingly well.