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Animal Collage with Hotspots
Raptors are avian predators and so have large hooked beaks used to tear flesh from bones. Martial Eagles, like this one, specialise in hunting monitor lizards but can even catch animals up to the size of impala. They have exceptional eyesight and can spot prey up to 5kms away.
Legs and Feet
Raptors have strong muscular legs and very powerful feet with long talons used to kill prey by crushing and piercing their victims. Martial Eagle feet are strong enough to crush and break a man’s arm.
Some birds have crops (pouches) in the throat to store food which can then be fed to chicks or swallowed.
Wings covered in various types of feathers allow birds to fly. Eagles have large, powerful wings that allow them to pick up prey items heavier than themselves. Vultures have large wings allowing them to glide without flapping.
Cheetah have relatively small and narrow heads, perfectly adapted for speed (sprinting up to 100kmph) and agility. Ears are small and tucked back. The black markings on the face are called tear marks and this together with the black spots can be used to distinguish it from the leopard.
Cheetahs have a pronounced deep set chest that accommodates the large lungs and heart required of a sprinter.
Long slender legs and flexible spines give cheetahs the long strides needed to run fast. Cheetahs also have claws that do not retract like other cats. This adaptation is like spiked shoes that human sprinters wear.
The tail is long and slightly flattened vertically which they use as a rudder to steer and balance when changing direction.
The Nile Crocodile is the region’s largest reptile, growing up to 6m in length. The head is long and slender with many conical teeth. In a crocodile the 4th tooth sticks out of the mouth when it is closed unlike in alligator jaws. Alligators don’t occur in Southern Africa.
Crocodile Body and Legs
The body is covered in thick protective scales. The legs are powerful and the hind feet are webbed giving the crocodile manoeuvrability in water. They can “run” at 13kmph on land.
A crocodile’s tail is thick, muscular and covered in heavy scales. The tail is used for propulsion in water and as a means of defence (along with the churching jaws and sharp teeth) against attack.
Nyala are medium sized antelope that prefer heavy bush habitats. They have large oval ears to detect sounds in the thick bush. Females don’t have horns but male Nyala have spiral white tipped horns.
The neck is long and flexible giving the buck longer reach to get to green shoots on bushes.
Tail and Stripes
The tail is bushy and is white underneath. Nyala, like many other animals, use the white of the tail as a form of communication, particularly flashing the tail to young ones following behind. Nyala have russet brown coats with white stripes that help camouflage them in grass and bush.
They have long, thin legs for speed and agility. Male Nyala have yellow legs which help distinguish it from similar looking buck like Bushbuck or Kudu.
Prey Item for Martial Eagle
This Martial has caught a mongoose or dassie, a fairly typical catch. The eagle takes its food into a dead tree to eat.
Cheetahs like to hunt in open ground where they can attain maximum speed. Thick bushes don't suit the fastest land animal on earth.
Nyala favour thickets and heavy bush cover. They are a favoured prey item of leopards.
Crocodiles spend most of thier time in water. They eat mostly fish but will readily attack animals that come down to drink.
Test your knowledge of the bushveld, animals and birds of Southern Africa on the Quizzes below and don’t forget to share your results with your friends and show them how smart you are.
If you got a few answers wrong and want to touch up on your knowledge then go to the BIG 5 Section.
If you got a few answers wrong and want to touch up on your knowledge then go to the BIG 6 Bird Section
If you got a few answers wrong and want to touch up on your knowledge then go to the Bird Section
If you got a few answers wrong and want to touch up on your knowledge then go to the Antelope section here
If you got a few answers wrong and want to touch up on your knowledge then go to the Reptile and Insect section here