ANIMAL SIGHTINGS ON EKUBO
The bushbuck is a close relative of the kudu and nyala animals. The tragelaphus scriptus, as its been scientifically named, has a short life expectancy of around 12 years old. Their population is considered to be in a good state, with over one million bushbucks inhabiting most of the African continent. This is mainly due to their ability to forage, live and survive within the rain forests.
The bushbuck is a very adaptable mammal that can be found in rainforests, wooded-savanna, semi-arid to arid savanna, sub-desert, fynbos and montane forest. The thicker the vegetation, the better it is for the bushbuck. They can usually be found in the close vicinity of permanent water but are able to subsist on dew from leaves in water-less areas, this indicates that they are not necessarily reliant on water sources.
The diet of bushbucks is one of the simplest out there. The main food sources include leaves, herbs, twigs and flowers of different plant types. This herbivore creature is a food browser but are found to rarely consume grass which many may think is the common food source amongst browsers.
The Vervet monkey is of medium to large size and has a black-tipped tail which is often longer than its body. Its fur is olive or gray, lighter on the underside. Its hands and feet are black, as are its ears and face. Its face has a white band above it, framed with white cheek tufts. Its arms and legs are long, about the same length as each other, to enable the monkey to walk with ease on all fours while on the ground, and this actually makes it quite speedy when running. The males tend to be bigger than the females and are easily distinguishable, with their bright blue testicles.
The Vervet is an arboreal monkey, spending most of its time in the trees where it is safe. Although these monkeys do venture to the ground looking for food and water, they rarely go more than 450 meters away from the trees, which are a protection from predators. These animals are diurnal and spend their days foraging, and then rest at night. They are very sociable animals, forming troops of between 10 and 50. The troops are made up of adult females with their young, while males wander between different troops both to socialize and mate.
The name ‘grey duiker’ is because of its characteristic greyish color, but “bush“ is a misbelieve, as it does not live in forest or thickets but in grassland, savannah woodland, and karroid shrubland. Its name comes from the Afrikaans 'duiker' meaning 'to dive,' because of its habit of ducking into bushes when there is danger about. They can live without drinking water, and they eat leaves, fruit and seeds, and are one of very few antelope known to eat carrion and insects.
Common duikers are active early in the morning, in the evening, and at night. During the warm parts of the day, they stay bedded down in their resting locations. Females will rest near logs or tree trunks where they can be well hidden, while males rest in places that are more elevated where they can have a better view of the surrounding area. Males and females are both territorial. The territories of same sex animals have a small degree of overlap. There is a larger amount of overlap between that of opposite sex animals, a loose bond existing between the male and the female that share some territory. They mark their territories with scent from their preorbital gland and also by vegetation that has been horned by males.
The caracal is a graceful, slender, cat with a short, thick coat and characteristic long black-tufted ears. Its body color ranges from tawny-gray to reddish-brown, and sometimes entirely black “melanistic” animals may occur. They have distinctive narrow black stripes running from their eye to their nose and down the middle of their forehead, and their eyes are yellow-brown, with circular pupils instead of slits. The kittens feature reddish spots on their undersides, which adults do not have.
Caracals are solitary animals, except during mating and the rearing of kittens. Males and females are both territorial and have an active home range. A male’s territory may overlap the range of several other males, but a female’s entire territory is for her individual use. Primarily nocturnal, sometimes caracals are seen during the day, particularly in undisturbed regions. Although terrestrial, they are skilled climbers as well, with tenacious attitudes. The time of hunting is usually regulated by prey activity, though caracals usually hunt at night. They have very good hearing and sight, and they communicate with a variety of growls, hisses, meows and spits. Tactile communication, such as huddling and sparring, has been seen during mating periods.
Bushpigs are members of the pig family. They resemble the domestic pig and can be identified by their blunt, muscular snouts, small eyes, pointed, tufted ears, and buckled toes. Their color varies from reddish brown to dark brown and becomes darker with age. Both sexes have a lighter-colored mane which bristles when the animal becomes agitated. The upper parts of the face and ears are also lighter in color. Their sharp tusks are fairly short and inconspicuous. Males in this species are usually larger than females.
Bushpigs are social animals that live in sounders of up to 12 members. A typical group will consist of a dominant male and a dominant female, with other females and juveniles accounting for the rest. Bushpigs are nocturnal and very territorial. They can be very aggressive, especially when they have young. Bushpigs find shelter in dense vegetation, and build nests during rains or periods of cold. Their favorite activity is wallowing; they like to roll about or lie in mud or dust. Another Interesting behavior of Bushpigs is that they often follow monkeys which feed on fruits and pick up those uneaten fruits that fall to the ground. They grunt softly while foraging, and make a long, resonant growl as an alarm call.
The Banded mongoose is a long, slim carnivore, widespread throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa. It has distinctive dark bands running horizontally across its back, going from the base of its neck to the start of its tail. These bands enable the banded mongoose to be distinguished from the Common dwarf mongoose, which is smaller, occupies similar habitats to the Banded mongoose and has a social structure that is similar. Banded mongooses have a wiry coat that ranges in color from gray to gray-brown, while the tip of their tapered tail is black or a darker brown.
The Banded mongoose is gregarious and diurnal, living in packs with 10 to 20 members. Packs usually remain together in a group in the same area, but forage individually. They may hunt together to kill larger prey, such as sand snakes. Their home range can measure 0.8 to 4 sq km, and they prefer to use an old termite mound as a den. A pack’s social organization seems to be matriarchal. Packs care for their young and also look after invalids and elderly, for example, by warning them about danger, grooming them, and giving them access to food. These animals are somewhat nomadic and will not inhabit one particular sheltering area or den for long, usually no more than several days or weeks. At a preferred location they may remain a little longer, and often will return to a favorite shelter site or den to re-use it repeatedly.
The Blue Duiker is the smallest antelope in Southern Africa. Measures 300 mm at the shoulders and females weighs 4.7 kg, males only 4 kg. The coat is blue-grey. Both sexes carry short sharp horns, which are often concealed by a tuft of hair. The Blue Duiker feeds on fresh leaves, fruit and flowers fallen from the forest canopy.
They are non-seasonal breeders, with a gestation period of about 210 days. Single fawns are born, weighing 400 grams. Young are hidden for the first few weeks after birth, and later driven from the parent's territory when sexually matured at about 388 days.
The Blue Duiker is widely distributed from the Eastern Cape to parts of West Africa. However, as a consequence of its habitat preference the distribution range is as disjunct as is the indigenous evergreen forests they frequent. The species is classified as rare in the South African Red Data Book.
Although, as its name suggests, it feeds extensively on fish, in some areas it preys on flamingoes and other water birds. It is also known to eat carrion and is classified as a kleptoparasite (it steals prey from other birds). Goliath Herons are known to lose a percentage of their catch to Fish Eagles. Their main diet is fish, sometimes dead, but mostly caught live. Catfish and lungfish are caught most frequently. Larger prey are eaten on the ground next to the water.
The African Fish Eagle has two distinct calls. In flight or perched, the sound is something like the American Bald Eagle. When near the nest its call is more of a 'quock' sound - the female is a little shriller and less mellow than the male. So well known and clear is the call of this bird that it is often known as 'the voice of Africa'. The African Fish Eagle is usually seen in pairs inside and outside the breeding season, even sharing kills made by either of them. They spend more time perched than flying, and usually settle for the day by 10am, having made their kill, although they will kill at any time of the day.
It is most frequently seen sitting high in a tall tree from where it has a good view of the stretch of river, lake shore or coastline, which is its territory. Near a lake with an abundant food supply, a pair may require less than 3 square kilometer of water to find enough food, whereas next to a small river, they may require a stretch of 30 kilometers or more. Some tend to move around to avoid the wettest weather, whereas others stay where they are all year round.
The most powerful eagle in Africa. Crowned eagles are not the largest eagles in Africa—martial eagles claim that title—but they are the most powerful. Their legs are thick, and they have a very long talon on each back toe that helps them kill animals more than four times their size. Crowned eagles live in the tall woodland forests and rain forests of Africa. They are often seen on Africa's savannas as well. Built for flying among trees, the crowned eagle's wings are short and broad, and its long tail helps guide the bird like a rudder guides a boat. These features allow the eagle to fly easily through the branches.
Crowned eagles live in forests, mountains, and grasslands in southeastern and Central Africa.
Hunting big game. As the most powerful eagle in Africa, the crowned eagle is able to kill animals weighing up to 44 pounds (20 kilograms). The eagle's long hind talon helps break the prey’s spine. A favorite method of hunting is to sit in a tree overlooking a waterhole or clearing and then simply drop down onto the prey. When hunting monkeys, a crowned eagle flies over the forest canopy until a troop of monkeys can be heard. The eagle lands on a branch and tries to get as close as possible to the monkeys without being seen before attacking
The long-crested eagle (Lophaetus occipitalis) is a small species of eagle common to large parts of sub-Saharan Africa. The long crest on the head makes this eagle an unmistakable bird. Body is uniform dark brown to black in color, with a white and black barred tail, and white feathered legs. Eyes are conspicuously yellow. When in flight, underwings are mostly white with black markings. Females are generally larger than males, but with a shorter crest. Length reaches 53-58 cm (21-23 in). Juveniles are similar, but lighter in color, and with a shorter crest.
Long-crested eagles are found in various habitats, but prefer open woodlands and forested areas close to wetlands and rivers. It is also quite commonly found in plantations and agricultural landscapes. Main diet consists of small rodents and shrews, but will also feed on small lizards, snakes, fish, and even fruit. It scans for prey while perched, before swooping down to catch its prey. It is not uncommon to see long-crested eagles perched on poles looking for prey alongside highways.
The second largest out of all freshwater species, the African clawless otter is well known for its luxurious hair, very silky in appearance and to the touch. These animals are acrobatic, curious and clever, and are perfectly adapted to the aquatic environment in which they live. Their dense, short fur insulates their bodies when they are swimming, their webbed back feet provide them with power, and their strong tails act as rudders. They have very playful personalities, especially once they have eaten.
An African clawless otter is a solitary animal. Groups of 4 to 6, consisting of 2 to 3 adults with 2 to 3 young, are sometimes seen, and larger groups sometimes form to forage. This species is most active at dawn and dusk (known as crepuscular). During the day they sleep in burrows or dens. The majority of their time awake is spent swimming, foraging, hunting, playing, and sunbathing. On land, they either trot like a seal or walk slowly, sometimes travelling over 7 km between one body of water and another. An African clawless otter does most of its hunting in water. They dive for fish, with dives lasting 6 to 49 seconds, with an average of 18 seconds per dive. Straight after eating, an otter will clean its face with its forefeet. After bouts of hunting they may leave the water to dry off or to play.