Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Pumba

Pumba, (from Hakuna Matata song) is the only pig able to live in areas without water for long, though streams are very common in East Africa and as such hard to judge for how really they can stay without water. But they love to wallow in muddy pools, as many of you have seen on safari, for those who have had the chance. Warthogs are able to tolerate higher-than-normal body temperatures and as such able to conserve moisture inside their bodies, that would have been used for cooling.

Warthog's most unusual features are the warts on the face, mostly pronounced on males.
These are thick protective-pads that appear on both sides of the head. They appear below
the eyes and between the eyes and tusks. Interestingly, the eyes are positioned very high on the head; as such when they kneel down to eat, they can still see far, especially predators.

The warthog's large tusks are unusual: The two upper ones emerge from the sides of the snout to form a semicircle; the lower tusks at the base of the uppers are worn to a sharp cutting edge. They are part of their feeding and defensive mechanisms, and in addition they go inside their barrows back-first, giving the tusks ease of attack when need be. And though they use barrows, in most cases they don’t dig them, preferring to use those left by aardvarks after digging out termites. (A different article on termites)

The warthog characteristically carries its tail upright when it runs, the tuft waving like a tiny flag. As the young run in a single file, the tail position may serve as a signal to keep them all together. They trot with a springy gait but they are known to run surprisingly fast.

Like hyena, they like to wallow in muddy pools. This not only cools them, but also keeps insects off. In some cases, the warthog lets tick birds like red and yellow billed ox peckers get ticks and other insects from them.

Boars have 4 teats but despite that, in some cases we see litters of more than 5. In most cases the litter is up to four whereby each piglet is 'assigned' its own teat and suckles exclusively from that. Others will not dare go it, > even if that 'teat-owner' dies, others will not go it.

When alarmed, the warthog grunts or snorts, lowers its mane, flattens its ears and bolts for underground cover. They have poor vision (though better than most other African wild pigs), but it senses of smell and hearing are good.

Shared by Peter K. Philip
 Safari tours in Kenya 
Natural Track Safaris

Monday, May 18, 2015

Kenya Safari Holiday-Dung Beetles.

Also  referred to as the scarab beetle. Many dung beetles, known as rollers, are noted for rolling dung into spherical balls, which are used both as a food source and brooding chambers. Other dung beetles, the tunnelers, bury the dung wherever they find it. A third group, the dwellers, neither roll nor burrow: they simply live in manure. Dung beetles live in many different habitats, including desert, farmland, forest, and grasslands. Most of the times while on Kenya safaris, the dung beetles are seeing eating dung excreted by herbivores and omnivores, and prefer that produced by the former. Many of them also feed on mushrooms, decaying leaves and fruits.

 Most dung beetles search for dung using their sensitive sense of smell. Some of the smaller species simply attach themselves to the dung-providers to wait for their reward. Sometimes dung beetles will try to steal the dung ball of another beetle, so the dung beetles have to move rapidly away from a dung pile once they have rolled their ball to prevent it from being stolen. They can roll up to 50 times their weight. Male can pull 1,141 times their own body weight: the equivalent of an average person pulling six double-decker buses full of people. The "rollers" roll and bury a dung ball either for food storage or for making a brooding ball.

In the  some case, two beetles, one male and one female, will be seen around the dung ball during the rolling process. Usually it is the male that rolls the ball, with the female hitch-hiking or simply following behind. When a spot with soft soil is found, they stop and bury the dung ball. They will then mate underground. After the mating, both or one of them will prepare the brooding ball. When the ball is finished, the female lays eggs inside it. Then the beetle goes through a complete metamorphosis.

The play a remarkable role in agriculture, as they improve nutrient recycling and soil structure. They also protect livestock, such as cattle, by removing the dung which, if left, could provide habitat for pests such as flies.

On a completely different scenerios with any other insects in China, it  is used in Chinese herbal medicine.
In other areas, several species of the dung beetle, enjoyed a sacred status among the ancient Egyptians. The scarab was linked to "Khepri", the god of the rising sun.

And when doing  a Kenya safari, it is worth it to stop, and just enjoy watching the hardwork of this little creature of the earth. Don’t rush only to those big-five safaris, a Kenya wildlife safari has much more to enjoy.

Shared by Peter K. Philip
Kenya Safari Holiday
Natural Track Safaris

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Kenya safari holidays

Is the Mara crossing around the corner? Book your 
Kenya safari holidays with us to witness the spectacle.

Sunday, May 3, 2015