are solitary animals, the male only associating with
female when she is in heat. The Leopard is active by
day and night, but where hunted, it remains very secretive
and nocturnal. Leopards are traditionally one of the
most dangerous of the wild cats. Its sense of hearing
is exceptional. Whereas the cheetah hunts by speed,
the leopard catches its prey by careful, stealthy stalking.
The leopard sleeps in trees and among rocks and can
be seen in all National Parks and game reserves.
alone, lions usually live in family groups. Lions have very
good sight, a sharp sense of hearing and good sense of scent.
Lions usually hunt at night but you may be lucky enough to
see a kill during the day. Lions normally hunt as a team,
by stealthily stalking their prey, crouching low to the ground
before rushing for the kill when close enough. Weighing up
to 200 kgs, a lion is exceptionally strong and can bring down
a large animal like a buffalo that is four times its weight.
Lions can be observed in most of the Tanzania National Parks
and game reserves.
can be seen in mixed breeding herds or in small all-male groups
of old bulls or sometimes alone. They are entirely grazers,
but generally avoid the open grass plains, preferring the
bush country for shade during the day, and are especially
fond of wallowing. They are rarely found far from water, as
they also need to drink regularly. Buffaloes weigh up to 800
kgs and carry massive, heavily bossed horns. If lions are
bold enough to approach a herd, the bulls form a ring with
the cows and calves in the centre and usually drive the lions
away. Their sense of smell is very good, while hearing and
sight are moderate.
are the largest living land mammals, weighing up to
6 tons. Daily food requirements, depending on body size
is 100 to 200kg and they can live up to 60 years. Like
the lion, the social system of the elephant is based
on close family kin. Daughters remain in the same family
as their mothers and grandmothers whilst males leave
once they reach adolescence. Senses of scent and hearing
are very good and sight is moderate. If you watch a
female herd you may be able to spot the matriarch. Usually
this oldest and largest animal acts as the leader, particularly
during defense when she will govern the course of action.
are usually solitary as adults. The most stable association
is that of a mother and calf which are usually found within
a well defined home range. Black rhinos, which can be seen
in Tanzania, are browsers and have pointed prehensile lips
adapted for browsing off thorny shrubs. They feed at night,
dawn, and dusk, resting during the heat of the day. They have
a good sense of hearing and smell (scenting over several km)
but their sight is poor at more than 30 metres. Rhinos weigh
up to 1600kgs and can live up to 40 years. Rhinos are an endangered
species, but can easily be observed in the Ngorongoro Crater
and possibly in the Selous Reserve.
cheetah, sometimes mistaken for a leopard, is a more lightly
built animal, distinguished easily by dark tear marks.
Female cheetahs are always solitary but males sometimes form
groups of two or three. Cheetahs are specialised predators
relying on a concealed approach to prey, followed by a swift
chase, reaching up to 110 kmph. Cheetahs rely primarily on
eyesight and speed and do not hunt at night. Unlike the lion,
they do not hunt jointly. The typical habitat is open plains
like the Serengeti.
Ostrich is the worlds largest bird and the only flightless
bird native to Africa. Males are black and white, with naked
necks and thighs. Ostriches are very fast runners and are
able to maintain their pace for a considerable time. This
together with the ability to swerve sharply enables them to
feed almost exclusively on the tender leaves of acacia
trees and they are rarely seen anywhere but in areas
where these trees grow. For all its great length, the
giraffes neck has only seven vertebrae, the same
as man. A male giraffe weighs about 800 kgs and stands
three and half meters at the shoulders and about 6 metres
at the crown. Giraffes have good eyesight (over 1 km)
and can distinguish colours. They protect their young
from lions by powerful kicks. Giraffe walk with a characteristic
gait that brings both limbs on the same side forward
live in large herds and are good grazers. Large concentrations
quickly exhaust a pasture and so wildebeest aggregations
have to keep moving, a phenomenon which is very pronounced
in the Serengeti. In the Serengeti, the migration is
a continuous quest for greener pastures and water, taking
the wildebeest over an annual circuit of 800 kms. They
have excellent sense of sight and hearing. Wildebeest
have many predators, including lions, cheetahs, hunting
dogs and hyenas.
are migratory birds, with unpredictable movements, arriving
in hundreds of thousands. Lesser flamingos are smaller
than the greater flamingo, and their plumage, with colour
resulting from their diets, are much pinker. Flamingos
are common in soda lakes such as Natron, Manyara and
in the Crater.