If you’re going on your first safari, you may not know what to expect. We hope you’ve got your adventuring socks on, because this’ll be a trip you’ll never forget. Good luck discovering the following animals; you’ll sorely miss out if you don’t spot them in the wild (on the bright side, it’s a good excuse to go again next year!)…
The game ‘Sleeping Lions’ is pretty named. Lions spend as much as 20 hours resting every day, so you’re likely to see them kipping rather than hunting for dinner. Unfortunately, your chances of seeing a lion are getting slimmer every day, as their population is dwindling. However, they’re easier to spot, since they live in prides, so not all hope is lost!
The largest mammal on the planet, the elephant, is largely peaceful, if you keep your distance. Yet, these gentle vegetarians won’t think twice about charging you, if threatened. Other dangerous animals, such as lions and tigers, tend to keep their distance and females tend to live in maternal family groups, led by the oldest cow. Males leave the group, once they hit puberty.
Elephants can live as long as 70 years in the wild and they have a very complex, tactile mode of communication, including touch, sight, infrasound and seismic messages. They’re very intelligent beings, show self-awareness and empathy for dying or dead members of their kind. Elephants often go through ‘grieving rituals’ when faced with the bones of a lost one.
From the largest to the tallest mammal, giraffes have special veins and blood valve to stop them blacking out when they dip their heads for a drink. A giraffe’s leg alone is taller than most human beings and these creatures have to travel miles to get enough food. When a baby giraffe is born, they fall five feet to the ground!
You can usually find this cat hanging out in trees, so don’t forget to look up! Generally, leopards are shy and nocturnal; they’re tricky to spot. They have a pretty impressive ability to carry heavy carcasses up trees! Leopards have powerful jaw muscles that can fracture the skulls of large prey, making them a formidable predator.
Yet another animal that’s being hunted to extinction on the African plains is the rhino. Short-sighted and easily angered, you should give this animal a wide berth. Some parts of Asia believe that rhino horns have medicinal qualities, so they’re illegally killed for this reason alone. You can still see them in safari parks all across the UK, though!
Cheetahs are rare, but they’re reputation precedes them for their incredible speed. What’s almost tragic about this gorgeous hunter is that, once they’ve made their kill, scavengers such as aggressive hyenas and lions (who can’t be bothered to do their own hunting) will bully a cheetah out of their dinner. Cheetahs like wide, open spaces.
This post has been contributed to Fancy Expeditions today by Zoe, a lifestyle blogger who has written this exciting post for Knowsley Safari Park – click for more information on this fun and memorable day out. Which animal would you consider a must-see on a safari visit? Sound off in the comments below!