Monthly Archives: October 2017

The African buffalo

The African buffalo or Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is a large African bovine. The adult buffalo’s horns are its characteristic feature; they have fused bases, forming a continuous bone shield across the top of the head referred to as a “boss”. They are widely regarded as very dangerous animals.

Savannah-type buffaloes have black or dark brown coats with age. Old bulls have whitish circles around their eyes. Females tend to have more-reddish coats. Forest-type buffaloes are reddish brown in colour with horns that curve back and slightly up. Calves of both types have red coats.

The African buffalo is one of the most successful grazers in Africa. It lives in swamps and floodplains, as well as mopane grasslands and forests of the major mountains of Africa and also found on Sibuya Game Reserve. This buffalo prefers a habitat with dense cover, such as reeds and thickets, but can also be found in open woodland.  While not particularly demanding with regard to habitat, they require water daily, so depend on perennial sources of water.

African buffaloes make various vocalizations. Many calls are lower-pitched versions of those emitted by domestic cattle. They emit low-pitched, two- to four-second calls intermittently at three- to six-second intervals to signal the herd to move. To signal to the herd to change direction, leaders emit “gritty”, “creaking gate” sounds.

Giant African land snail

Lissachatina fulica is a species of large land snail that belong in the Achatinidae family. It is also known as the giant African snail or giant African land snail.

This snail species has been considered a significant cause in pest issues around the world. Internationally, it is the most frequently occurring invasive species of snail.

Habitat

The giant African snail is native to East Africa, and can be traced back to Kenya and Tanzania. It is a highly invasive species, and colonies can be formed from a single gravid individual. The giant snail can now be found in agricultural areas, coastland, natural forest, planted forests, riparian zones, scrub and shrublands, urban areas, and wetlands as well as on Sibuya Game Reserve.

Feeding

The giant African snail is a macrophytophagous herbivore; it eats a wide range of plant material, fruit, and vegetables. It will sometimes eat sand, very small stones, bones from carcasses and even concrete as calcium sources for its shell.

 

 

Giant African land snail trying to cross the road at its fastest pace (Photo taken by Chris Ovens)