Dung beetle

Many dung beetles, known as rollers, roll dung into round balls, which are used as a food source or breeding chambers. Others, known as tunnelers, bury the dung wherever they find it. A third group, the dwellers, neither roll nor burrow: they simply live in manure. They are often attracted by the dung collected by burrowing owls. There are dung beetle species of different colours and sizes, and some functional traits such as body mass (or biomass) and leg length can have high levels of variability.

The nocturnal African dung beetle Scarabaeus satyrus is the only known non-human animal to navigate and orient itself using the Milky Way.

dungbeetle

Dung beetles live in many habitats, including desert, grasslands and savannas, farmlands, and native and planted forests and commonly found on Sibuya Game Reserve. They are highly influenced by the environmental context, and do not prefer extremely cold or dry weather. They are found on all continents except Antarctica.

Dung beetles play a remarkable role in agriculture and tropical forests. By burying and consuming dung, they improve nutrient recycling and soil structure. They are also important for the dispersal of seeds present in animals’ dung, influencing seed burial and seedling recruitment in tropical forests.

 

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Crowned hornbill (Tockus alboterminatus)

Description

It is a medium-sized bird, 50–54 centimetres (20–21 in) in length, and is characterized by its white belly and black back and wings. The tips of the long tail feathers are white. The eyes are yellow; the beak is red and presents a stocky casque on the upper mandible. In females, the casque is smaller. The crowned hornbill can be distinguished from the similar Bradfield’s hornbill by its shorter beak.

Crowned Hornbill

Habitat
The crowned hornbill is a common resident of the coastal and riverine forests of southern (only the eastern coast) to northeastern Africa as well as on Sibuya Game Reserve.

Diet
It forages mainly in trees, where it feeds on insects (often caught in flight), small rodents, small reptiles, seeds and fruits. This hornbill species can be seen in flocks, usually in the dry season. Four to five white eggs are incubated for 25 to 30 days; the juveniles remain with both parents for about 8 weeks.

The Book Scorpion (pseudoscorpion)

A pseudoscorpion, also known as a false scorpion or book scorpion, is an arachnid and can be found on Sibuya Game Reserve.  

Photo taken by Chris Ovens

Pseudoscorpions are generally beneficial to humans since they prey on clothes moth larvae, carpet beetle larvae, booklice, ants, mites, and small flies. They are tiny and inoffensive, and are rarely seen due to their small size, despite being common in many environments. Pseudoscorpions often carry out phoresy, a form of commensalism in which one organism uses another for the purpose of transport.

Pseudoscorpions spin silk from a gland in their jaws to make disk-shaped cocoons for mating, molting, or waiting out cold weather. However, they do not have book lungs as most of their closest relatives, the spiders, do. They breathe through spiracles, a trait they share with the insects.

Waterbuck

The waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus) is a large antelope found widely in sub-Saharan Africa.

The waterbuck cannot tolerate dehydration in hot weather, and thus inhabits areas close to sources of water. Predominantly a grazer, the waterbuck is mostly found on grasslands of Sibuya Game Reserve.  

Waterbuck are rather sedentary in nature. A gregarious animal, the waterbuck may form herds consisting of six to 30 individuals.  The coat colour varies from brown to grey. The long, spiral horns, present only on males, curve backward, then forward.

In equatorial regions, breeding takes place throughout the year, but births are at their peak in the rainy season. The gestational period lasts for seven to eight months, followed by the birth of a single calf.

Wildebeest – Did you know?

The ungainly gnu (pronounced “g-new” or simply “new”) earned the Afrikaans name wildebeest, or “wild beast,” for the menacing appearance presented by its large head, shaggy mane, pointed beard, and sharp, curved horns.

  1. Wildebeest is a mammal that belongs to the family of antelopes and is one of the largest antelopes.
  2. Wildebeest looks like a close relative of a bovine because of its disproportionate body. It has large, box-shaped head, and strongly built front part of the body. Hindquarters are slender, just like in other antelopes.
  3. Wildebeest has a mane just like horse. Both males and females have curved horns.
  4. Wildebeest is a grazer. It eats mainly short grass. Wildebeest needs to drink water at least every other day.
  5. Calves (babies) are able to walk as soon as they are born. Few days after birth, babies can run with the rest of the herd.

 

Sibuya Game Reserve

If you are planning an African Safari, or want to stay at a Game Reserve in South Africa, or a Game Reserve near the Garden Route, or are looking for that perfect Game Reserve Wedding Venue, then why not visit Sibuya for that ultimate African Bush Experience! Sibuya is a Malaria Free Game Reserve

Sibuya offers team-building & conferencing programmes for companies or conference groups.

 

Antelope Facts: Nyala

The lowland nyala or simply nyala, is a spiral-horned antelope native to Southern Africa.  The nyala is mainly active in the early morning and the late afternoon. As a herbivore, the nyala feeds upon foliage, fruits and grasses, with sufficient fresh water. A shy animal, it prefers water holes rather than open spaces.

The main predators (some of which are found on Sibuya Game Reserve) of the nyala are lion and leopard, while baboons and raptorial birds hunt for the juveniles. After a gestation period of seven months, a single calf is born.  Alert and wary in nature, the nyala use a sharp, high, dog-like bark to warn others in a group about danger. This feature is mainly used by females.

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Sibuya Game Reserve

If you are planning an African Safari, or want to stay at a Game Reserve in South Africa, or a Game Reserve near the Garden Route, or are looking for that perfect Game Reserve Wedding Venue, then why not visit Sibuya for that ultimate African Bush Experience! Sibuya is a Malaria Free Game Reserve

Sibuya offers team-building & conferencing programmes for companies or conference groups.

Little Five Game

In Africa, the little five game animals are:

1. Elephant shrew: a small, insect-eating mammal with a long nose. Elephant shrews are very common in Southern Africa but seldom seen.
2. Buffalo weaver: the buffalo weaver is the easiest among the little five to find and observe.
3. Leopard tortoise (commonly found at Sibuya Game Reserve)
4. Antlion or ant lion
5. Rhino beetle

The term little five was brought to life, after safari tourists’ successful wildlife experience of the big five in Southern Africa. It was after a call by nature conservationists for visitors also to acknowledge the smaller — less noticed — but still enigmatic, animals of the savanna (called bushveld in South Africa).

Each “little” species is a contradiction in sheer size to the big five animal, but the first part of its English name relates to one of the famous bigger five animals one-on-one.