Africa’s intensely hot and diverse landscapes are, of course, home to some of the most wild and wonderful beasts on the planet. Millions of people go on friendly safari tours each year to get a closer look at elephants, rhinos, lions and more besides.
There are more species living on the continent than you might think! In this fact file, we are going to run through some interesting facts about the animals of Africa that you might not be aware of.
Across Africa, you are likely to find plenty of crocodiles. But did you know that these beasts supposedly survived the cataclysmic event that killed the dinosaurs? It seems that the crocs waddling across Africa to this day are directly descended from those animals which survived the disaster.
Africa is home to some of the fastest animals on the planet. Out of all of these, the cheetah is likely to take home the gold medal. That’s because it’s thought this big cat can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour in just a three-second burst.
In fact, cheetahs are thought to leave the ground for up to 50% of the time it is in pursuit. Better give it some room – and fast!
It’s no cliché to say that an elephant never forgets. African elephants have the ability to remember zones of food and water in times of starvation or drought. This normally falls to the matriarch, or leading female in a herd.
Buffalo across Africa, too, are thought to retain strong memories. So much so, in fact, that they are thought to bear grudges. Buffalo have shown aggressive tendencies towards people who may have hurt them many years before.
There is a tiny African critter called the elephant shrew, which you may think is so-named thanks to its snout. However, it actually shares more genes in common with actual elephants than any other species.
There are also plenty of lizards that are native to Africa. One of them, the chameleon, is actually so-named because it has an aggressive nature. Its name literally translates into ‘dwarf lion’!
Ostriches you will find across Africa are also incredibly fast runners. They are thought to be the speediest creatures on two legs, with the ability to run up to 60 miles per hour. There are even farms across Africa which host racing events!
There are more than 1,100 different mammal species alone living in Africa, with more than 2,600 different bird species living on the continent, too.
The Nile plays host to the largest reptiles on the continent. It is here where you will find the Nile Crocodile, a deadly creature which can grow up to 16 and a half feet in length!
While you will likely see a hippo or two wallowing around in large expanses of watery mud, they can’t actually swim. They instead walk under the water – which is particularly useful, as they can’t float, either.
Do you know any interesting, fun or strange facts about the African animals that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!