The Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)

April 11, 2013
The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is an African even-toed ungulate mammal, the tallest living terrestrial animal and the largest ruminant. Its species name refers to its camel-like appearance and the patches of color on its fur. Its chief distinguishing characteristics are its extremely long neck and legs, its horn-like ossicones and its distinctive coat patterns. It stands 5–6 m (16–20 ft) tall and has an average weight of 1,600 kg (3,500 lb) for males and 830 kg (1,800 lb) for females. It is classified under the family Giraffidae, along with its closest extant relative, the okapi. The nine subspecies are distinguished by their coat patterns.
The giraffe's scattered range extends from Chad in the north to South Africa in the south, and from Niger in the west to Somalia in the east. Giraffes usually inhabit savannas, grasslands, and open woodlands. Their primary food source is acacia leaves, which they browse at heights most other herbivores cannot reach. Giraffes are preyed on by lions, and calves are also targeted by leopards, spotted hyenas and wild dogs. Adult giraffes do not have strong social bonds, though they do gather in loose aggregations if they happen to be moving in the same general direction. Males establish social hierarchies through "necking", which are combat bouts where the neck is used as a weapon. Dominant males gain mating access to females, which bear the sole responsibility for raising the young.



 

The roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus)

April 11, 2013
The roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus) is a savanna antelope found in West, Central, East and Southern Africa.
Roan antelope are one of the largest species of antelope. They measure 190–240 cm (75–94 in) from the head to the base of tail and the tail measures 37–48 cm (15–19 in). The body mass of males is 242–300 kg (530–660 lb) and of females is 223–280 kg (490–620 lb). The shoulder of this species is typically around 130–140 cm (51–55 in).[2][3][4] Named for their roan colour (a reddish brown), they have lighter underbellies, white eyebrows and cheeks and black faces, lighter in females. They have short, erect manes, very light beards and prominent red nostrils. The horns are ringed and can reach a metre long in males, slightly shorter in females. They arch backwards slightly.
They are similar in appearance to sable antelope and can be confused where their ranges overlap. Sable antelope males are darker, being black rather than dark brown.



 

The nyala (Nyala angasii or Tragelaphus angasii), also called inyala

April 11, 2013
The nyala (Nyala angasii or Tragelaphus angasii), also called inyala,[3] is a spiral-horned antelope native to southern Africa. It is a species of the family Bovidae and genus Nyala, also considered to be in the genus Tragelaphus. It was first described in 1849 by George French Angas. The body length is 135–195 cm (53–77 in), and it weighs 55–140 kg (120–310 lb). The coat is rusty or rufous brown in females and juveniles, but grows a dark brown or slate grey, often tinged with blue, in adult males. Females and young males have ten or more white stripes on their sides. Only males have horns, 60–83 cm (24–33 in) long and yellow-tipped. It exhibits the highest sexual dimorphism among the spiral-horned antelopes.
The nyala is mainly active in the early morning and the late afternoon. It generally browses during the day if temperatures are 20–30 °C (68–86 °F) and during the night in rainy season. As a herbivore, the nyala feeds upon foliage, fruits and grasses, with sufficient fresh water. A shy animal, it prefers water holes rather than open spaces. The nyala does not show signs of territoriality, and individual areas can overlap each other. They are very cautious creatures. Old males live alone, but single sex or mixed family groups of up to 10 individuals can be found. These inhabit thickets within dense and dry savanna woodlands. The main predators of the nyala are lion, leopard and Cape hunting dog, while baboons and raptorial birds hunt for the juveniles. Mating peaks during spring and autumn. Males and females are sexually mature at 18 and 11-12 months of age respectively, though they are socially immature until five years old. After a gestational period of seven months, a single calf is born.



 

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