Giraffes Have Blue Tongues

10 Weird and Wonderful Facts About African Animals

 

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Already a bizarre-looking creature, the giraffe’s strange appearance is compounded by the color of its tongue. There is a reason for its blue-black hue, however. Giraffes use their tongues to strip leaves from the tallest trees, and the high melanin content helps to prevent them from getting sunburned. This is just one of the giraffe’s many special adaptations. Blood is pumped up their famously long necks by a uniquely powerful system of valves and veins. When the giraffe lowers its head to drink, the same system prevents the blood from rushing downwards and causing a sudden loss of consciousness. Amazingly, when female giraffes give birth the baby drops some six feet to the ground – but is able to stand up, walk and even run shortly afterwards.

Lions Sleep for 20 Hours a Day

10 Weird and Wonderful Facts About African Animals
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The African lion has been admired by man for its beauty and strength for thousands of years. It is one of the most exciting animals to see on safari. However, you’re more likely to see one sleeping than hunting because lions rest for an average of 20 hours every day. Because they hunt primarily at night, they do most of their sleeping during daylight hours. In this, lions are similar to many other cat species. However, they are also unique in many ways. They are the only cats with marked differences between males and females, and unlike house cats, they cannot purr. They are also the only cats to live in large family groups, or prides. Living, hunting and raising cubs together is a survival tactic that allows for greater hunting success and a higher rate of infant survival.

Hyenas are More Closely Related to Cats than Dogs

10 Weird and Wonderful Facts About African Animals

 

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Hyenas are more closely related to cats than dogs. They live in matriarchal clans, with some groups numbering over 70 members. Hyena cubs are usually born in pairs, and if they are the same sex, they may try to kill each other. Although hyenas are known as scavengers, they also regularly hunt live prey. Hyena dung is white when dry because of the large amount of calcium found in the bones that they eat. A team of researchers excavating a cave near Mikumi National Park, Tanzania, discovered five human hairs preserved in fossilized hyena dung. Thought to be at least 200,000 years old, the hairs exceeded the previous record for the oldest known human hair by more than 190,000 years. Striped hyenas are born with adult markings, closed eyes, and small ears. Spotted hyenas are born with eyes wide open and teeth intact.