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Species Available to Hunt - page 2

Tusks & Tracks  Africa


Red Hartebeest


Roan Antelope

Sable Antelope

Serval Cat




Vaal Reedbuck




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           Porcupine Porcupines are rodents with a coat of sharp spines or quills, which defend them from predators.  Porcupines are the third largest of the rodents.  They are rounded, large and slow.  Porcupines come in various shades of brown grey and the unusual white.  The common porcupine is a herbivore.  It eats leaves, twigs and green plants, and in the winter it may eat bark.  It is mostly nocturnal, but will sometimes forage for food in the day.  Porcupines have become pests in Kenya and are eaten as a delicacy.           Red Hartebeest Red Hartebeest are one of the fastest runners in Africa, capable of reaching speeds of up to 65 km/h and they are capable of keeping this speed up for a considerable distance, in similar fashion to their cousin, the Tssesebe, the fastest antelope in Africa. Red Hartebeest often post sentries on vantage points such as anthills, to keep a watchful eye for danger. They are grazers and do not take a browse material, and can also go completely without water, gaining all the moisture that they need from the food that they eat. A semi-large antelope resembling something between a cattle and a buck, with high standing front quarters and much lower hind quarters. The face and the frontal bone of the skull are abnormally elongated compared to other African antelope. The head and neck are normally held high while not grazing. The body colour varies from yellowish-grey to dark brown. The neck, shoulders and fore part of the back is darker than the rest of the body, and the buttocks a light cream-brown, and an almost black, blaze on the forehead and muzzle. The shoulders and the front of the upper legs may turn dark in adults. The underside is a faded cream-white. Male Hartebeest are a dark brown color, while females are yellow brown.  Both sexes have horns which can reach lengths of up to 70 cm (27 ins). Hartebeest live in grassland and open forest where they eat grass.           Rhino Rhinoceroses are herbivores and eat vegetation. Rhinos generally eat leafy material, although their ability to ferment food in their hindgut allows them to subsist on more fibrous plant matter, if necessary.  Although Rhinoceroses are not inclined to approach humans, rhinos may exhibit bursts of aggression, just like hippos. Fortunately for their enemies, they have very poor eyesight which prevents them from making targeted attacks. A rhinos sense of smell and hearing however are well developed. The rhinoceros family is characterized by its large size, with all the species able to reach one tone or more in weight, with an herbivorous diet.  A Rhino has a thick protective skin, 1.5 – 5 cm thick, formed from layers of collagen, positioned in a lattice structure.  They have relatively small brains for mammals this size (400 – 600 g) and a large horn.  Rhinoceros have acute hearing and sense of smell, but poor eyesight.  Black Rhinos are more aggressive and have various habitats, but mainly areas with dense woody vegetation, while the White Rhino lives in savannahs with water holes, mud wallows and shade trees.           Roan Antelope Roan Antelope stand about a metre and half at the shoulder and weigh around 250 kilograms. Named for the "roan' colour (a reddish brown), they have a lighter underbelly, white eyebrows and cheeks and a black face, lighter in females. There is a short erect mane, a very light beard and prominent red nostrils. The horns are ringed and can reach a metre long in males, slightly shorter in females. They arch backwards slightly. They are similar in appearance to Sable Antelope and can be confused where their ranges overlap.   Sable Antelope males are darker, being black rather than dark brown. Roan Antelope are found in woodland and grassland savannah in the Tropical and Subtropical grasslands, savannahs and shrublands biome, which ranges in tree density from forest with grassy understorey to grasslands dotted with a few trees, where they eat mid-length grass.  They form harem groups of five to fifteen animals with a dominant male. Roan Antelope commonly fight among themselves for dominance of their herd, brandishing their horns while both animals are on their knees. Named for the ”roan” color (a reddish-brown), they have a lighter underbelly, white eyebrows and cheeks and a black face, lighter in females.  There is a short erect mane, a very light beard and prominent red nostrils. Roan Antelopes are found in woodland and tropical and subtropical grassland savannahs.           Sable Antelope The Sable Antelope stands 120 to 140 cm at the shoulder and weigh 200 to 270 kilograms, males being larger than females. Female Sable Antelope are chestnut to dark brown darkening as they mature while males are very distinctively black. Both sexes have a white underbelly, white cheeks and a white chin. They have a shaggy mane on the back of their neck. Sable antelope have ringed horns which arch backward, in females these can reach a meter, but in males they can reach over one and a tenth meter. The life span of these animals is up to 18 years.  Sable Antelope live in savannah woodlands and grasslands during the dry season where they eat mid-length grass and leaves.  Sable Antelope form herds of ten to thirty females and calves led by a single male, called a bull. Sable Antelope males will fight among themselves; they drop to their knees and use their horns. Male Sable Antelope are distinctively black, while the females are chestnut to dark brown and darkening as they mature.  Both sexes have a white underbelly, white cheeks and a white chin.  They have a shaggy mane on the back of their neck.  Sable antelope have ringed horns which arch backward.  The male has a thicker horn than the female.  Sable antelope live in savannah woodlands and grasslands during the dry season, where they eat mid-length grass and leaves.           Serval Cat Serval cats have the largest ears and longest legs in relation to the size of their body of any cat. Their fur is yellow, gold to reddish with black spots that often merge to form stripes on the neck and back. Their ears have horizontal stripes. The stomach is usually lighter color than the rest of the body. They have a long neck and a small head. Servals live in well-watered grasslands of Africa. Their habitat overlaps with the caracal who usually preys on larger animals. The serval cat mainly eats hares, ground squirrels, hyraxes, and mole rats, but will also prey on frogs, snakes, lizards, insects, fish, and birds. They listen for their rodent prey. Once they have a position fixed on the animal, they leap with all four feet off the ground and pounce on the prey. Their success rate of pounces is 50%. Most other cats’ success rate is only 10%. The serval is a medium-sized cat, measuring 59 to 92 cm (23 to 36 in) in head-body length, with a relatively short tail.  They have a similar appearance as the Cheetah, in being spotted, and they belong to the same family and sub-family.  Its main habitat is the savannah, although melanistic individuals are more usually found in mountainous areas.  The serval needs watercourses within its territory, so it does not live in semi-deserts or dry steppes.  Servals also avoid dense equatorial jungles, although it may be found along forest fringes.           Springbuck A chocolate brown band along the flanks of the springbuck separates the bright cinnamon brown upper parts from its white under parts. The head is white with brown stripes on both sides that run through the eyes to the corner of the mouth.  Springbuck have a pocket-like flap of skin lined with white hair that extends from the middle of their back to their rump.  This white hair is usually folded out of sight into a narrow pouch.  When excited or frightened, this flap turns inside out, revealing the highly visible crest of erect white hairs along its back.  This act of display is a very distinctive behavior of the springbuck and is called “Pronking”. The Springbuck is a medium sized gazelle.  There are four species, namely, the Copper, Black, White and the Common Springbuck, which are brown and white colored.  They all have distinct behavior of pluming the hair on their backs during mating season or when they die.  Springbuck inhabit the dry inland areas of south and southeastern Africa.  Their range extends from the northwestern part of South Africa through the Kalahari Desert into Namibia and Botswana.  Springbuck also inhabit the vast grasslands of the Free State and the open lands of the greater and smaller Karoo.           Steenbuck Steenbok are one the more adaptable antelope in Africa, together with the Grey Duiker they are often the last species to leave an area. When chased by dogs, Steenbok take refuge in used antbear holes, although they generally rely on their speed to take them away from danger. Steenbok will drink when water is available, but do not require it, gaining all the moisture that they need from their food. They are most active in the morning and in the evening, lying up during the day in bush or long grass. Steenbuck are one of the more adaptable antelope in Africa.  They can be found wherever there is suitable food and cover.  They can also be found in a wide variety of habitat, but prefer short grassland with shrub for cover.  Their pelage (coat) is any shade from fawn to rufous, typically rather orange.  The underside, including the throat, is white, as is the ring around the eye.  Ears are large with “finger-marks” on the inside.  Males carry straight, smooth and parallel horns.  There is a black crescent-shape between the ears, a long black bridge to the glossy black nose, and a black circular sent-gland in front of the eye.           Tsessebe Bulls have a mass of 140 Kg and measure 1.2 m at the shoulders, and are slightly larger than cows which weigh approximately 120 Kg. Both sexes grow horns, but those on bulls are heavier. When viewed from the front the horns appear typical ‘halfmoon’ shaped. It has a dark face with purple blotches on the shoulders, whereas the withers and upper body are reddish-brown. They are grazers which utilise a wide range of grass species. They select the leaf over the stems. They prefer fresh growth, and are attracted to burnt areas. They are seasonal breeders, which in South Africa give birth during September / October to single calves, after a gestation period of seven months. The rut takes place during mid-February and continues through to March. During the mating season elaborate displays by the bulls form part of the mating ritual. Tsessebe are social animals and their basic group structure consists of small breeding groups, each comprising of six to ten cows with their offspring. Bachelor groups and territorial bull herds may sometimes number up to 30 strong. This is especially noticeable near water and favourable gazing. Breeding herds consisting of cows are not restricted to a specific territory. In areas where tsessebe occur in higher densities, bulls establish typical ‘lek’ system territories. Young bulls form bachelor groups at the age of one year as they are pushed out of herds. They belong to the same family as the Wildebeest and the Hartebeest, all of whom are characterised by an ungainly appearance as a result of their shoulders being higher than the withers. Only one of the several subspecies that are recognized, occur in the Subregion. In South Africa the tsessebe are confined to northern savannah woodlands. They are mostly confined to the Kruger National Park and some provincial game reserves. They have also been re-introduced to some private game farms. Tsessebe are rusty red color with black legs, chest and a black strip running from forehead to the tip of the nose.  The horns are lyre-shaped.  Tsessebe live in savannah and floodplains where they eat mainly grass.  They are considered to be one of the fastest antelope on earth.           Vaal Reedbuck The Vaal Reedbuck is a species of antelope endemic to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland. They prefer grassy, montane habitat, and carry a woolly grey coat to insulate them from the cold of their habitat. Only the males carry the straight horns. Males become extremely aggressive during the breeding season. The dense, woolly coat of the Vaal or grey reedbuck is grey with whitish underparts, and lacks any distinguishing markings. The legs and head tend to be more fawn in color than the body, and the fronts of the lower legs are often darker. The tail is bushy with a fluffy white underside. The patch of black bare skin at the nose is extremely enlarged in the reedbuck, and contrasts with white hairs on the muzzle. The eyelids are black and the eyes are surrounded by whitish hairs. The ears are extremely long and narrow and stand straight up. Only males have horns; these are straight and slender and rise vertically from the forehead, growing to 20-29 cm in length. The Vaal Reedbuck utilizes a more exposed habitat than the Mountain Reedbuck.  They are independent of water.  They have long thin neck with very long pointed upright ears.  The horns are straight and stand upright.  They live in rocky mountains, mountain slopes and plateaus with sufficient grass and a few shrub trees.  They are territorial and form herds of up to 12 animals.  The Reedbuck grazes with short resting periods and rests for 3 hours during the hottest part of the day.           Waterbuck Waterbuck are found in scrub and savannah areas near water where they eat grass.  Despite its name, the Waterbuck does not spend much time in the water, but will take refuge there to escape predators.  Waterbuck feed during the day.  Females gather in herds of between two to six hundred individuals.  Males keep territories of around 1.2km² during their prime. Their coats are reddish-brown in color and become progressively darker with age.  They have a white “bib” under their throats and a white ring on their rumps, surrounding their tails.  The long spiral structured horns, found only in males, sweep back and up.  Waterbuck are found in scrub and savannah areas near water where they eat grass.  Despite its name, the waterbuck does not spend much time in the water, but will take refuge there to escape predators.           Warthog Generally common, but outside protected areas this species is declining due to overhunting.  The Common Warthog are usually black or brown colored. The Common Warthog is sparsely haired, except for a distinct mane of long stiff hairs on the neck and shoulders. The face is flattened and bears one or two pairs of warts and, in both sexes, well developed tusks. Common warthogs have two upper and four to six lower incisors. Common warthogs are found in open and wooded savannas, grass-steppes, and semi-deserts in Africa. Common warthogs prefer open areas and avoid rainforest and severe desert. Common warthogs often utilize formerly wooded areas that have been cleared for pastures. The distribution of common warthogs is limited by cover, human disturbance, and suitable foraging. Warthogs require areas to cool-off in order to cope with high temperatures. These include wallows. They also require areas in which to stay warm in the evening, such as burrows. A Warthog is identifiable by the two pair of tusks protruding from the mouth, which are used as weapons against predators.  The tusk will curve 90 degrees or more from the root, and the tusk will not lie flat on a table, as it curves somewhat backwards as it grows.  The tusks are also used for digging, for combat with other warthogs, and in defense against predators – the lower set is very sharp and can inflict severe wounds.  Warthogs prefer plains regions and avoid forests, thick bush and mountains.  They are found in savannahs, woodlands, grasslands and frequently at waterholes, where they dig in the marsh and wallow in the mud.           Zebra It was previously believed that zebras were white animals with black stripes, since some zebras have white underbellies. Embryological evidence, however, shows that the animal's background color is black and the white stripes and bellies are additions. The stripes are typically vertical on the head, neck, forequarters, and main body, with horizontal stripes at the rear and on the legs of the animal. The vertical striping may help the zebra to hide in the grass.  While seeming absurd at first glance, considering that the grass is neither black or white, it is supposed to be effective against the zebra’s main predator, the lion, which is colour blind. Another hypothesis is that since zebras are herd animals, the stripes may help to confuse predators—a number of zebras standing or moving close together may appear as one large animal, making it more difficult for the lion to pick out any single zebra to attack.  It has been suggested that the stripes serve as visual cues and identification. Although each striping pattern is unique to each individual, it is not known whether zebras can recognize one another by their stripes.  Alternative theories include that the stripes coincide with fat patterning beneath the skin, serving as a thermo-regulatory mechanism for the zebra, or that wounds sustained disrupt the striping pattern to clearly indicate the fitness of the animal to potential mates. Like horses, zebras walk, trot, canter and gallop. They are generally slower than horses, but their great stamina helps them outpace predators. When chased, a zebra will zig-zag from side to side, making it more difficult for the predator. When cornered, the zebra will rear up and kick or bite its attacker. Zebras are African equids, best known for their distinctive black and white stripes.  Their stripes come in different patterns, unique to each individual.  Two species are found in South Africa namely the Burchell Zebra and the Hartman Zebra They can be found in a variety of habitats, such as grasslands, savannahs, thorny scrublands, mountains and coastal hills. 

Detail descriptions of game species - from previous page

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Rhino Zebra Roan Antelope Sable Antelope Serval Cat Springbuck Steenbuck Vaal Reedbuck Waterbuck Warthog Red Hartebeest Porcupine Tsessebe
Species to Hunt - Continue
= Descriptions
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African Safari - The big Five
© Tusks and Tracks Africa  :  Design
Tusks & Tracks   Africa


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