Our Enviroment

 

Bushbuck

Tragelaphus scriptus Zulu word – Nkonka

The common large antelope is the secretive bushbuck. The male is chocolate brown in colour with a few white spots and stands about 80 cm at the shoulder. Bushbucks usually occur singularly or in pairs and females have territories which they defend against other intruding males. Female bushbuck is slightly smaller and although they have similar white markings they are light fawn in colour and do not have horns.

Blue duiker
Philantomba monticola

(Protected game listed as “Rare”) Females are generally lager than males. The colour of the coat varies with the region from slate grey to grey-brown, with a bluish sheen on the back. The under parts, inner legs, rump, and underside of the tail are whitish. There is a light eye-brow ridge which curves up to the horns, as well as a glandular slit underneath the eye. The horns are strongly ridge and short, growing 2-10 cm long. The horns are sometimes absent in females, or hidden by the short head crest.

Red duiker
Cephalophus natalensis

(Protected game listed as “Rare”) Small duiker with a rather rounded back and short backwardly directed horns in line with the face present in both sexes. Overall a deep chestnut colour, tending to be lighter on their lower parts. Shoulder height about 50 cm. Breeding may occur throughout the year (mostly spring and summer). It is both a forager (eating freshly fallen leaves) and a browser, independent of free water. Not territorial. Life spans 8 or 9 years. Total number estimate more than 2000 but less than 3000.

Vervet Monkey
Cercopithecus Aethiops

Vervets vary in colour, but generally the body is a greenish olive or silvery grey. The face, ears, hands, feet and tip of the tail are black, but an obvious white band on the forehead blends in with the short whiskers.

Males are slightly larger than females and are easily recognized by their turquoise blue scrota. The Vervet is classified as a medium to large monkey. 18 to 26 inches; weight: Between 6 and 17 pounds. Their preferred habitat is acacia woodland along streams, rivers and lakes. They are diurnal, sleeping and eating in trees from which they seldom venture. ; Leaves and young shoots are most important, but bark, flowers, fruit, bulbs, roots and grass seeds are also eaten. The mainly vegetarian diet is supplemented with insects, eggs, baby birds and sometimes rodents and hares. They seldom drink water.

Complex social groups of 10 to 50 monkeys consist of adult females and their offspring, the male Vervet roams freely in and out of these groups.

Vervets spend hours a day removing parasites and other materials from one another’s fur. In their hierarchy, dominants get the most grooming

The average life span or a Vervet monkey is about 22 years and the gestation period is 5½ months.

Samango Monkey
Cercopithecus mitis

Males are larger than females; males have a mass of 7 to 9 Kg and females 4 to 5 Kg. The tail is a third longer than the body. The coat of the head and the shoulders is dark grey to black. Facial skin, feet, hands and lower limbs are black. Upper limbs and flanks are paler than the shoulders. Belly and throat are a creamy white. The muzzles of males protrude to accommodate the enlarged canines.

They can survive in swamp forests, inclusive of the deciduous sand forests of northern KwaZulu-Natal, although it is mainly confined to evergreen indigenous forests.

The diet of the Samango Monkey includes fruits, insects, flowers, leaves and insects. The Samango male consumes more fruit than the female. While foraging for food it would appear that Samango’s start the day by selecting fruit, and will later in the day eat leaves.

This primate is a seasonal breeder. Females give birth during the onset of the warm, rainy season. A single young is born after a gestation period of 140 days. Young are carried by their mothers for two to three months, and are finally weaned at the age of nine months. Males compete for the attention of oestrus females. In Samango troops, oestrus is unsynchronised.

Samango Monkeys have a harem social structure, that is a single dominant male lives with his females and their infants and sub adults. The social core is formed by related females, who will also defend their territory.

African Porcupine
Hystrix africaeaustralis

Porcupines are best known for their coat of sharp spines and quills protruding from its tail, back and sides that defend them from predators. They are also the largest rodent in southern Africa. Males weigh 18.4kg on average and females 19.7kg.

The porcupine is nocturnal and lives in caves or crevices but may use an old aardvark hole or dig its own hole. It is usually solitary although it may share the same shelter with other adults.

They have good hearing and when they feel threatened, can become aggressive. They raise the quills on their back in defence, giving it a larger appearance. They also shake their tails creating a loud rattling sound by the hollow quills. If the threat attacks the porcupine, it turns and rushes backward to impale the intruder. They do not “shoot” their quills at an offender.

Porcupines eat bulbs, tubers, and dig out roots. They sometimes eat vegetables such as watermelons and pumpkins. They can be a pest in agricultural lands where they cause damage to crops. As rodents they have two top and bottom incisor teeth used for gnawing, although they are herbivores, bones are often found around a porcupine’s burrow. They gnaw on bones in order to get phosphorous and calcium in their diets and to wear down their teeth.

Porcupine couples form a strong bond and after a gestation period of 3 months, 1-2 young are born. The average life span is about 14 years

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