conservation

We Spots a Spotted Owl

We Spots a Spotted Owl

When people think of Africa, people think of all the big animals, but rarely do they think of owls! Well, Africa is home to many species of owls. We went looking for the Spotted Eagle and we found one! Come learn more about them with us!

spotted eagle owl

Spotted Eagle-Owl Fun Facts:

  • Spotted eagle-owls have a 3 foot wing span!
  • They have large ear tufts and bright yellow eyes.
  • Like many owls they are nocturnal.
  • These carnivores eat mammals, birds and amphibians. They are also known to eat carrion.
  • Spotted eagle-owls are known to bond for life.
  • They are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

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Seeing an owl in the wild is always a treat! These owls have a fun musical call. We could listen to them all night.

Categories: adventure, Animals, birds, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hello Antelope!

Hello Antelope!

Happy Monday and we are so excited for you to meet the animal we spotted this weekend. They have some fantastic antlers! Are you ready to meet the kudu?

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Greater Kudu Fun Facts:

  • Greater Kudu can grow up to 96 inches long and weigh up to 700 pounds.
  • Only the males have those impressive spiral horns.
  • Those horns can grow up to 3 feet long!
  • They have a crest of fur that runs down their back.
  • They live in family groups that consist of females and their offspring. The males are solitary or live in small bachelor groups.
  • These herbivores eat vegetation, fruit and grasses.
  • Greater kudu are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

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It was fun to spot some males with their spectacular antlers! Can you imagine having those attached to your head all the time?

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, mammals, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Flamingo!

Flamingo!

We are off to meet a bird who calls this country home- the greater flamingo! These iconic birds are one of our favorites too! Let’s learn more about them together.

Greater Flamingo

Greater Flamingo Fun Facts: 

  • These large birds can grow up to 59 inches tall and weigh up to almost 9 pounds. They are the largest member of the flamingo family.
  • Males are larger than females.
  • Greater flamingos are a soft whitish pink. They do have bright pink and black feathers on the back of their bodies.
  • Young flamingos are grey and turn pink after a few years. That pink coloration is caused by the food they eat.
  • During breeding season they turn brighter pink!
  • These carnivores eat small crustaceans, insects and fish.
  • They are highly social.

Greater Flamingo, Phoenicopterus roseus at Marievale Nature Rese

Flamigos always make us smile. Did you know that knobby joint they bend is actually their ankle? Their knees are closer to their bodies! Neat!

Categories: adventure, Animals, birds, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Armored Lizard

Armored Lizard

We decided we haven’t met enough lizards on our trip so far and headed out to meet one with some most interesting scales. This reptile was a definite look don’t touch kind of creature. Get ready to learn more about them.

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Giant Girdled Lizard Fun Facts: 

  • They are also known as the sungazer lizard.
  • Giant girdled lizards grow to about 7 inches long.
  • Though they live in rocky areas, they do dig their own burrows for shelter.
  • They are insectivores.
  • They live in groups.
  • They secret scents to communicate with other sungazers.
  • Giant girdled lizards are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.

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We enjoyed spotting this little spiked lizard. It would be a smart predator to stay away from those scales.

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, endangered species, Environment, lizards, nature, reptiles, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Oh Those Ear Tufts!

Oh Those Ear Tufts!

We headed out in a Jeep to find a predator on the plains today! We were looking for a feline, but not a lion, cheetah or leopard. So who were we looking for you ask? This cat is small, but mighty and they have some of the greatest ears around.

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Caracal Fun Facts: 

  • These medium sized cats can grow up to 42 inches long and weigh up to 44 lbs. The males are larger than the females.
  • They are the largest member of the small cats in Africa.
  • They are famous for their large ear tufts or tassels. It is thought that they use these to communicate with other caracals.
  • These agile carnivores eat small mammals and birds.
  • They are able to leap 10 feet into the air to catch birds in flight.
  • Caracals are mostly solitary and highly territorial.
  • They mark their territories with scents and physical marks like claw marks on trees.
  • They are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

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We were so excited to spot this sleak predator. They remind us of the house cat that lives at HQs, except he is a bit plumper and lazier.

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, mammals, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Feeling Blue

Feeling Blue

We are feeling blue- just kidding! We’re off to meet one regal blue bird! In fact they are the national bird of South Africa! Are you ready to learn more about the blue crane? Let’s gooooo!

blue crane

Blue Crane Fun Facts:

  • These cranes can grow up to 40 inches tall and weigh up to 11 pounds.
  • They are known for their loud honking calls.
  • These omnivores eats grasses, seeds and small invertebrates.
  • The males perform elaborate courtship dances.
  • The entire population of blue cranes call South Africa home.
  • Blue cranes are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.

blue crane2

These elegant but funny looking cranes are so amazing. There are several organizations that are working to protect these neat birds, including the International Crane Foundation!

Categories: adventure, Animals, birds, Children, conservation, education, endangered species, Environment, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Meet Ellie’s Cousin

Meet Ellie’s Cousin

We are going to meet a small, rodent look a-like today. But, guess what? It’s not a rodent, it’s one of Ellie’s closest living relatives! Are you ready to go on today’s adventure?

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Cape Rock Hyrax Fun Facts: 

  • Cape Hyrax can grow up to 12 inches and weigh up to 13 pounds.
  • Their teeth, toes and skull are structured like elephants.
  • These little herbivores even have two elongated teeth like the tusks of an elephant.
  • They live in family groups of 20-80 individuals.
  • Hyrax have little glands on their backs they use to mark their territory.
  • They do have elongated noses too. Males have longer noses than females.
  • Hyrax have little suction cup like pads on their feet to help climb.
  • These little prey animals can spot a predators over 900 feet away.
  • They are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN>

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These funny little critters of course is one of our favorites! We bet you would have never guessed they shared an ancestor with elephants.

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, elephants, Environment, mammals, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Doing Some Geometry

Doing Some Geometry

We headed out today with a local tracker to find a species that is critically endangered. We did find one of these special animals and we couldn’t wait to share more about them with you!

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Geometric Tortoise Fun Facts: 

  • These tortoises grow put to 6 inches long.
  • They have a geometric, radiating pattern on their shell that help them camouflage.
  • These herbivores eat flowers, leaves and shoots.
  • Once thought to be extinct, a small population (around 2,000-3,000) was found in the west cape of the country.
  • They are thought to be aestivate (be dormant) in the summer.
  • Females are larger than males, but have shorter tails.
  • They are highly protected by the local conservation organizations and the government.

We were super excited to spot this little rare tortoise. They are shy, so we had to be very quiet and patient. We were lucky to have such a great tracker with us. We wonder who we might find tomorrow.

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, endangered species, Environment, nature, reptiles, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hello Shrew

Hello Shrew

We are off to the southern part of the country for a day trip to locate one small mammal. They are named after elephants, but we can assure you they are not elephants. Grab your gear and let’s head off on today’s adventure to meet the cape elephant shrew.

cape elephant shrew

Cape Elephant Shrew Fun Facts:

  • Shrews are distantly related to moles. They are not rodents.
  • They are also called the Cape Elephant Sengi.
  • The cape elephant shrew weighs around 50 grams.
  • These insectivores eats insects of all kinds.
  • They get their names from their long noses like look like and elephant’s trunk.
  • Their scientific name includes the word- Elephantulus.
  • They prefer dry, rocky and arid habitats.
  • They are listed as LEAST CONCERN by the IUCN.

 

What a joy it was to spot this tiny little animal. It’s not easy and it took some patience waiting in an area where they are known to hunt for insects. Sometime we forget that habitats all around the world have some amazing little animals. These forgotten creatures are important too.

Categories: adventure, africa, Animals, Children, conservation, education, elephants, Environment, mammals, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hello Buffalo

Hello Buffalo

We are so excited to meet today’s animal. They are large and in charge and have a pair of horns you don’t want to come close too!

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Cape Bufffalo Fun Facts: 

  • These large bovines can weigh up to 1,500 lbs. They can grow over 5 feet at the shoulder.
  • They are considered one of the big 5 species in South Africa. That includes, lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and Cape buffalo.
  • Those large horns are a part of their skeletal structure. Males have larger horns than females and can grow up to 5 feet.
  • The large area of the horns on the forehead of male is called the boss.
  • These large herbivores may only eat grass, but they are dangerous. They can charge without notice.
  • They are fantastic swimmers.
  • Cape buffalo live in herds of 50-500 individuals. Younger males form bachelor groups within the herd. Older males may be solitary.
  • The are listed as LEAST CONCERN by the IUCN.

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We wouldn’t say the Cape buffalo is the cutest animal on the block. You definitely do not want to get too close. A charging buffalo is not a cute buffalo.

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, endangered species, Environment, horses, insects, lizards, Local, turtles, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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