Grassy plains known as the African Savanna cover much of the continent from the center to the southeast. Savanna borders on no less than 27 different nations. The summer months see a deluge of rain due to the warm, tropical climate.
Animals of the savanna as diverse as the speedy cheetah, the tall giraffe, the spotted zebra, the massive elephant, and the cryptic aardvark all call this extraordinary environment home. Over 45 species of mammals and 500 species of birds can be found in the Savanna. Every trophic level essential to the survival of this delicate ecosystem is represented in this intricate and interdependent community.
The Savanna stretches far into the distance, a vast plain of grass with sparse, sporadic vegetation like the acacia tree. This arid part of Africa receives very little precipitation. Tourists from all over the world have been flocking to the Serengeti and other Savannas for decades in hopes of getting up close and personal with some of the most impressive animals that live in the plains.
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Top 10 Animals Of The Savanna:
The appearance of a warthog is very similar to that of a wild boar. Their tails are thin and their skin is tough and grey. The animal’s mouth is adorned with two tusks that can grow to a length of 10 inches. The unusual protrusions under its eyes, which look like tusks, are worth mentioning.
Warthogs may not look like very strong or fast animals, but their top speed is 35 miles per hour. They eat grasses, bulbs, roots, tubers, and even earthworms, which they dig up with their tusks while crouching. Pumbaa, the warthog who taught Simba the Hakuna Matata in The Lion King, is a fan-favorite character.
Ostriches are huge, clumsy birds that can’t fly. Males are completely black except for a white patch on their tail, and females are brown all over. Both their legs and neck are long and slender. These birds can grow to a whopping 9 feet in height!
Since ostriches are omnivores, they also eat other animals, such as insects, snakes, lizards, and small rodents, though plants make up 60% of their diet. There is a dominant female and male in each pack of about 10 ostriches, and they can run at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour.
The length of a blue wildebeest can reach 8 feet, and their height can reach 4.5 feet at the shoulder. During their extensive migrations, these 600-pound grazers feast on grasses. They are capable of speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.
Wildebeests can have as many as 500 members in a single herd, but most of the time they move around in smaller groups of 10–100 adult females and their young. Male wildebeests sound off when they spot a predator by making a loud calling noise. Animals of the Savanna, such as lions and stampede, hunt them for food.
Buffaloes are large bovines that are structurally similar to cows. The size and coat color of Africa’s four buffalo subspecies can vary widely from one another. These massive animals are easily distinguished by the thick horns that curve out to the side above their ears and follow the natural contours of their heads.
Greater buffalos can grow to a height of 5 feet and a weight of 1,840 pounds. A few hundred individuals make up the herds that they travel in during migration. The Serengeti is home to a population of buffalo that has been documented in the thousands. Their high numbers give them an advantage over the many predators out there.
The average weight of a rhino is over 2,200 pounds, and some have been recorded at over 4,400 pounds! The African Savanna is home to the critically endangered white rhinoceros because it provides the best conditions for this massive animal, including plenty of water, mud, grass, and cover from the sun.
Both of a white rhinoceros’ horns are equally impressive, with the front one reaching up to 60 inches in length and typically coming in at around 24 inches. These massive creatures have a daily food intake of 120 lbs., and their flat snout and thick lips have evolved to allow them to forage for food closer to the ground.
Giraffes, at a height of up to 20 feet, are the tallest mammals on the planet. Their markings are all over and they are long and slender. Like a human fingerprint, no two giraffes have the same pattern of spots. The blue, prehensile tongue of this animal is between 15 and 18 inches in length, adding to its already bizarre appearance.
When it comes to digesting their plant-based diet, giraffes, like other ruminants, rely on their unique 4-chambered stomach. For food, they eat the leaves of bushes and trees, with the acacia tree’s leaves being a particular favorite. They need to spend 16-20 hours a day grazing to meet the energy needs of their massive bodies.
Hyenas tend to congregate in families or “clans.” Spotted hyenas, at between 34 and 59 inches in length, are the longest of the three hyena species. Although they resemble spotted dogs at first glance, these well-known mammals are more closely related to cats. The peculiar laughter-like sounds they make have made them famous.
Hyenas are commonly misunderstood as harmless scavengers who subsist solely on the leftovers of more capable predators. These adaptable eaters aren’t above scavenging, and they’re also capable hunters who, when they band together, can bring down grazers as big as wildebeests.
The fur of these majestic big cats is cream colored on their bellies and gradually fades to a reddish brown along their upper bodies. Their distinctive rosette-shaped spots make them easy to spot. The African leopard is a very athletic cat, capable of running at speeds of up to 58 miles per hour and jumping 20 feet forward in a single bound.
The African leopard is a skilled climber and can often be found perched in a tree, scanning the ground below for unsuspecting prey. They will then hide their prey from other top predators until they are ready to eat again, which could be anything from an insect to a large wildebeest.
One of the most feared creatures of the Savanna, lions can be found in a variety of ecosystems across sub-Saharan Africa. They can sprint up to 50 miles per hour and are very nimble. Lions, unlike most other large cats, are social animals that congregate in small groups called prides that can number up to 30 members.
Because they are apex predators, they are able to easily pursue and kill large prey such as wildebeest, zebras, antelopes, and even small giraffes. It is the female lions who do the majority of the hunting. The roar of a lion is so loud and impressive that it can be heard up to three miles away.
Elephants are some of the heaviest and largest animals on Earth. They are around 19–24 feet long, and 11 feet tall at shoulder height. Males can weigh up to a whopping 13,000 pounds, whilst females weigh half of that. These impressive mammals can live for up to 70 years.
They are easy to distinguish thanks to their size, long outward curved tusks, protruding trunks, and large ears. They spend their days foraging for leaves, bark, fruits, and grazing grasses off the Savanna floor; they need to eat around 350 pounds of vegetation daily to keep them going! Sadly, elephant populations have suffered declines for centuries due to poaching for ivory.