Wildlife of South Africa

South Africa has 299 species of mammals and 858 species of birds. Wildlife of South Africa – Wikipedia

Mammals of South Africa

With well over 200 species, a short survey of South Africa’s indigenous mammals is a contradiction in terms. A few examples will help to indicate the range.

In terms of appeal, primates rate highly. In South Africa they include the nocturnal bushbabies, vervet and samango monkeys, and chacma baboons which – encouraged by irresponsible feeding and under pressure through loss of habitat – have become unpopular as raiders of homes on the Cape Peninsula.

Dassies (hyraxes, residents of rocky habitats) and meerkats (suricates, familiar from their alert upright stance) have tremendous charm, although the dassie can be an agricultural problem.

The secretive nocturnal aardvark (which eats ants and is the only member of the order Tubulidentata) and the aardwolf (which eats termites and is related to the hyaena) are two more appealing creatures, and both are found over virtually the whole country.

And for those who like their terrestrial mammals damp, there is the widely distributed Cape clawless otter, which swims in both fresh and sea water. The spotted-necked otter has a more limited territory. Both are rare, however, and difficult to spot.

Gemsbok photo from Wikipedia

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