In my childhood, I adopted a puppy that changed my life and attitude towards animals—I have since become a lifelong animal lover.
The Sahara Desert is wide expanse of desert land. It is the world's largest desert. It occupies almost all of North Africa. The desert is full of large oasis depressions, shallow inundated basins, sand seas, sand dunes, sand sheets, abrupt mountains, rocky plateaus, and gravel plains. Its temperature is extremely hot during the days and extremely cold during the night.
However, despite the extreme conditions in the region, there are still hundreds of animal species thriving to live here. These Sahara Desert animals have adapted well to their environment that their bodies are well-equipped to survive in the cruelty of nature.
Listed below are 50 of these animals that continuously survive living in the Sahara Desert.
- Addax Antelopes
- Dromedary Camels
- Saharan Cheetahs
- Dorcas Gazelles
- Deathstalker Scorpions
- Fennec Foxes
- Dung Beetles
- North African Ostriches
- African Wild Dogs
- Horned Vipers
- African Silverbills
- Desert Monitor Lizards
- Desert Crocodiles
- Saharan Silver Ants
- Golden Jackals
- Olive Baboons
- Nubian Bustards
- Desert Hedgehogs
- Slender Mongoose
- Spotted Hyenas
- Barbary Sheep
- Secretary Birds
- Dwarf Crocodiles
- Cape Hares
- Fallow Deer
- African Wild Asses
- Striped Polecats
- Bateleur Eagles
- Guinea Fowls
- African Spotted Eagle Owls
- Sand Cats
- Pale Crag Martins
- Fan-Tailed Ravens
- African Clawed Frogs
- Denham’s Bustards
- Lappet-Faced Vultures
- Mouse-Tailed Bats
- Cairo Spiny Mouse
- Desert Long-Eared Bats
- African Mantis
These Saharan animals have ringed twisted long horns. They have the capability to change their coat colors. During winter, they have grayish brown coats. During summer, they have sandy-beige to white coats.
These antelopes live in the stony, sandy and dry steppe areas of the Sahara Desert. They are herbivores. They prefer to eat the Parnicum grass especially the shoots and seeds. However, they will also eat other kinds of grasses, herbs and shrubs especially the seeds, leaves, and shoots.
The male Addax Antelope is bigger than the female. The average body length is between 150 centimeters and 170 centimeters. The average body weight is between 60 kilograms and 125 kilograms for female and between 99 kilograms and 124 kilograms for male.
The average life span of Addax Antelopes in the wild is 19 years. They start to become sexually mature when 2 years old. Their mating season is at its peak during the start of spring. The gestation period is about 9 months. Females give birth to only one baby with each pregnancy. The babies are dependent on their mother's milk from birth up to 29 weeks.
The species of Addax Antelope is now critically endangered. Their population in the wild is only a handful. In Niger, there are less than 10 of them found in the Termit Massif Reserve. There are also a number of sightings of Addax Antelope in other parts of Africa.
Some organizations in the United States and some Middle East countries have captive-bred these animals to help preserve their kind. A number of them have been reintroduced into the wild in the countries of Morocco and Tunisia.
The arid climate in the Sahara Desert is the perfect habitat for Dromedary Camels. This is the reason why most of these camels are domesticated by the people living in or near the Sahara Desert. These people use camels for transport of people and cargos in the area.
Dromedary Camels are herbivores. They eat all kinds of plants that are thriving in the Sahara. This is their advantage against other herbivores in the desert. These camels will eat even those thorny plants that other animals don't like to eat. Their thick lips help them to eat any thorny plant without getting hurt.
Dromedary Camels are tall animals. They are about 6.5 feet tall up to their shoulders. When the height of their hump is added, their height will reach up to about 10 feet in total. They are also heavy. Their average weight is between 1000 pounds and 1500 pounds.
One thing to remember about Dromedary Camels is that they only have one hump. If you see a camel with two humps, then it is the other breed of camel called Bactrian Camel. The number of humps is the distinguishing factor between these two camel breeds.
The hump of the camel is an important body part. This is where camels store their fatty tissue. In days when there are no food and water available, the camels' bodies will use the stored fatty tissue to survive. They can last for many days without food and water in the Sahara Desert because of their humps.
The length of gestation of female Dromedary Camels is about 13 months. Most of the time, they will give birth to only one baby. However, there are also instances wherein two or more baby camels are born from a single pregnancy.
Northwest African Cheetahs is the other name for Saharan Cheetahs. Their bodies and behavior have adapted to the cruel physical conditions of the Sahara Desert. These cheetahs are more active during the night compared to the rest of their kind. This behavior helps them to avoid the extreme heat of the desert sun and to conserve water.
Saharan Cheetahs differ in their appearance from other kinds of cheetahs. They have shorter coats and the color is almost white. The color of their spots ranges from black to light brown. There are instances that they have no spots on their faces and their tear stripes are missing. Their body size is a little bit smaller compared to other kinds of cheetahs.
Their favorite food is the antelopes. If there are no antelopes around, their next option is the hares and other small mammals. They can survive without drinking water for a number of days. The blood of their hunted animals is their alternative source of water.
Cheetahs are solitary animals. They also seldom move from one place to another. There are small groups of cheetahs and these groups are mostly composed of a mother and her growing cubs.
Saharan Cheetahs are now one of the Critically Endangered species in the world. Their population in the wild is around 250 individuals. This specific breed of cheetah is a Sahara Desert native. These cats range in the central and western regions of the Sahara Desert and also in the Sahel. However, there are specific regions in the Sahara wherein they are considered extinct like Ghana, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Morocco.
Dorcas Gazelles are mostly found in the Sahara Desert and some regions in North Africa. They are adapted to live in dry areas like sand dune fields, wadis, semi-deserts, and savannahs. They are herbivores but they prefer to eat the Pancratium plants.
Dorcas Gazelles are one of the smallest gazelles in the world. The average weight of a female is 12 kilograms and the average weight of the male is 16 kilograms. The color of these gazelles varies depending on their location in the Sahara Desert. It can be ocher, or reddish-brown or pale. However, all of them have white underbelly.
Males will use their droppings to guard their territories. A group of gazelles is led by one to two males and a number of females with their young. There are also male-female pairs when food is scarce.
The mating season of Dorcas Gazelles is between September and November. A female gazelle is ready to mate at the age of 2. Gestation period is about 6 months. The baby gazelle is called a fawn. The fawn will stay in the shade most of the time for safety during the first two weeks after birth. Their life span is about 15 years in the wild.
Gazelles are very active only during sunrises and sunsets when summer days are hot. They can be active the whole day when the temperature becomes mild. They can also adapt to being nocturnal if there are predators around their territories.
Dorcas Gazelles are herbivores. They will eat the pods, leaves, flowers, fruits and bulbs of trees, shrubs, and bushes. These animals can survive without water to drink. The plants are their alternative water source.
They are small-sized animals but greatly feared by humans. They are poisonous. One sting from them will inject their poison into the bloodstream of humans. The result will be dysfunctions of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems which is fatal when left untreated.
Deathstalker Scorpions are yellow to orange in color with some gray in the abdomen area. The average size of an adult scorpion is about 2.2 inches but there are some that can grow up to 3 inches in length. The weight is about 2.5 grams or less.
Scorpions have several eyes. One pair of eyes is on the head at the top and the rest of the pairs of eyes are located along the sides of the head.
Their population is mostly concentrated in the Middle East and North African side of the Sahara Desert. They prefer to live in dry areas with very hot climate. They usually inhabit those underground holes that other animals left behind. They can also be found in spaces beneath any debris as long as the areas are dry. Sometimes, they are brave enough to enter into the homes of humans.
Deathstalker Scorpions are active at night. They hunt their food in the dark. They will eat insects, centipedes, earthworms, spiders and even scorpions. They will even eat their own kind if there is no other food option.
Fennec Foxes are considered as the smallest foxes in the world. Their size is 9.5 inches to 16 inches from the head down to the body. The tail length is 7 inches to 12.2 inches. The length of the ears is about 6 inches. Their ears are not just used for hearing. These are also used to release heat and keep their body temperature cool.
They are a common sight in North Africa and in the sandy areas of the Sahara Desert. These foxes are active during the night so they won't have to deal with the burning heat of the sun during the day to hunt for food. They have long thick fur to protect their bodies from the cold nights and hot days.
Fennec Foxes live in underground holes. Their feet are very efficient in digging holes. A community of fox is usually composed of 10 individuals lead by the males.
These foxes are omnivores. They will eat both plants and other animals. Their favorite food choices are insects, eggs, reptiles, rodents and some plants. Their bodies are adapted to survive for many days without drinking water.
It is a fact that Fennec Foxes are beautiful animals. Because of their appearance, many people hunt them down for their fur and sometimes to be pets. These conditions are threatening to the total wild population of these Sahara Desert animals. As of this writing, they are not yet considered as an endangered species. However, if people won't stop hunting them, then it won't be far down the road that they will become extinct too.
Dung Beetles are the kind of beetles that love to do the work that even humans hated. They may be small and doing the dirty work but their role to keep the ecosystem healthy is very important. They love animal dungs because that is where they get their food. Their mouths have special parts that they will use to get nutrients and moisture from the poops of other animals.
They are classified into four distinct groups – dwellers, tunnellers, rollers, and stealers. The dwellers love to live in the manure. The tunnellers will make holes in the ground and bury the dungs that they found. The rollers roll the dungs into balls. They will use these dung balls as food and the nesting place of their females. The stealers are considered as the lazy ones because they will just steal dung balls instead of make one on their own.
Dung Beetles are very strong creatures. They can roll a dung ball that is about 50 times heavier that their body weight.
These beetles will not eat whatever animal waste there is. They choose only those dungs from plant-eating animals like elephants, sheep, horses, and others. They mostly love those fresh dungs from these animals. Their sense of smell is very sensitive. They use the wind to know where an herbivore just drops its dung. Within minutes, hundreds if not thousands of Dung Beetles will flock and feast in the dung.
North African Ostriches
North African Ostriches are birds that inhabit in the Sahara Desert. They are often found in grasslands, dry savannas, and large sandy wadis. These birds don't fly but they are fast runners. They are also the only kind of birds that have two toes. Their small wings are used to communicate with each other. They also use their wings to steer in the right direction when they are running very fast.
The average running speed of an ostrich is 43 miles per hour. An average ostrich can reach the height of 9 feet or more. They are also heavy creatures. They can weigh as much as 300 pounds or more.
North African Ostriches are both plant and animals eaters. Their diet consists mainly of the leaves of plants and smaller animals like insects, lizards, and small sized tortoises. They don't drink water regularly. They just satisfy their thirst by consuming the leaves of plants.
The mating season of ostriches is between August and September. Mating dances of ostriches is among the most beautiful courtship dances of animals. The female ostrich lays not less than 8 eggs. The male and female ostriches take turns in incubating the eggs.
An ostrich egg weighs about 1400 grams to 1600 grams. It takes 42 days for the eggs to hatch. Wild ostriches can live up to 40 years.
There are only a few numbers of North African Ostriches in the wild. Their population is greatly decreased due to human presence in their natural habitat. They are being hunted for traditional medicine purposes. Global organizations are doing their best to preserve this bird species. Some captive-bred ostriches have been reintroduced back into the wild in secure protected areas.
African Wild Dogs
African Wild Dogs are also known as African Hunting Dogs, Painted Hunting Dogs, Painted Wolves, and Cape Hunting Dogs. They have unique patterns on their coat composed of black, brown, yellow and white colors. They have slim bodies and slender legs. Their ears are round and their tails are long with white plume.
Their body length is about 5 feet and their tail length is about 40 centimeters. Their body weight is about 80 pounds. One distinctive physical feature of African Wild Dogs is that each paw has only four toes compared to other dogs that have five.
These dogs inhabit in woodlands, savannas and grasslands in the Sahara Desert. They are meat eater animals. Their favorite animals to eat are gazelles, impalas, antelopes, and zebras.
African Wild Dogs live in a pack of about 20 individuals. There are more males in a pack than females. Each pack has an alpha male and an alpha female. They are the breeding pair for the pack to survive.
These animals may be wild but they are very sociable. They prefer to beg for food than be in conflict with each other. They are very good hunters. They are good at making hunting strategies to ensure that the pack have food to eat.
The intense mating season of African Wild Dogs is between March and June. The female will get pregnant for 70 days. One birth will yield to about 10 puppies however only a few of these puppies will get to adulthood because of their predators.
The male wild dogs are loyal to their birth pack. It is different with the female wild dogs. They will leave their birth pack and transfer to another pack if there is a lack of mature females who are sexually capable.
Horned Vipers are among the poisonous snakes in the world. They inhabit in the Sahara Desert where the climate is semi-arid. The horns present over the eyes of these snakes give it its name. These horns are used to protect their eyes from the sands. They also use these horns to blend into their environment for protection.
The body length of Horned Vipers can range from 12 inches to 33 inches. They have a strong body. Their neck is narrow and their middle part is thick. Their tail is tapered with a black tip. The females are usually bigger in size than the males. Their body color ranges from gray, to red, to yellow and to brown depending on the color of the soil where they live.
These are nocturnal animals. They hunt for food at night. They love to bury themselves in the sand to hide from their enemies or wait for their prey. They usually ambush their prey for a sure kill. They usually eat lizards. However, scarcity of food adapts them to feed on some birds and mammals in the desert.
The venom of Horned Vipers may not be very toxic but still fatal when left untreated. It can cause hemorrhage, heart irregularities, and kidney failure.
A female viper will lay about 24 eggs or less and will nest in empty underground holes or under the rocks. The eggs will hatch around 80 days of incubation. The baby vipers are usually 6 inches in length. Their average life span in the wild is about 15 years.
Hyraxes have a wide range of habitat from the rainforest to the savanna to the moorland in the African continent. They are small-sized mammals that are furry. They almost look like a rabbit with no tail and their ears are round in shape.
There are different kinds of hyraxes. The most common are the rock hyrax and the tree hyrax. You can easily distinguish the tree hyraxes because they spend most of their time in the trees.
These animals are nervous eaters. It means that they fast and in a cautious way. They are always on the lookout for their predators to survive. Most of their predators are lions, leopards, pythons, hyenas, servals, big birds, parasites, and jackals.
They are herbivores. Their usual diet is composed of leaves, herbs, grasses, and fruits. However, there are instances that rock hyraxes will feed on bird eggs, small lizards and insects. They can live for days without water. Their food source is also their water source.
An adult hyrax weighs about 5 kilograms. They live in colonies. A colony is usually composed of 50 individuals. A female hyrax has a gestation period of about 7 to 8 months which is unusual for a mammal of their size. One to three babies will be born in one pregnancy. These babies are already fully developed before birth. They are able to jump and run within an hour after they are born.
The life span of a hyrax in the wild is 8.5 years in average. When there is some danger threatening the colony, the male leader will shrill shriek as an alarm. The rest of the colony will instantly jump and scuttle away to find cover and shelter. They will remain in their hiding place without moving at all until they are certain that there is no more danger.
African Silverbills are native birds in the south portion of the Sahara in Africa. However, there are sightings of these small birds in the island of Hawaii. Experts believed that these birds were made pets and escaped from or abandoned by their owners. They continued on with their lives in the Hawaiin islands.
The upper parts of these birds are brown. They have white under parts. Their tail is long and pointed and the color is black. They have a chunky bill and the color is a combination of silver and blue. Male and female African Silverbills are hard to distinguish from each other.
An adult African Silverbill has a body length of 4 inches. Its body weight is between 10 grams and 14 grams. This bird makes a tseep call and a beautiful trilling song.
Their diet is composed mostly of grass seeds. They either pick the seeds straight from the plants or from the ground. They also love to eat those aphids that are pests to plants.
It is fascinating to watch the mating ritual of these little birds. The male will usually start the mating ritual by plucking a stem of grass and positions himself near the female. Then, he starts to show-off to the female of how handsome he is. He will then drop the stem of grass and do his beautiful song and dance performance. If the female is attracted to the performance of the male, there will be a successful mating in the end.
The nest of an African Silverbill is made from grasses. Some feathers and soft fibers are also used to soften the bedding of the nest. You can usually find their nests in hedges and bushes and even in creepers of houses. The female will usually lay 3 to 6 eggs in one season.
Desert Monitor Lizards
The Desert Monitor lizard is also known as the Grey Monitor lizard. Its mouth is long and full of strong, sharp teeth. Its bite is life-threatening to humans and other animals. One bite can cause the victim to feel dizzy, muscle pains, fast heart rate, and breathing difficulty.
The length of its snout is between 560 mm and 579 mm. Its tail has a length of 865 mm to 870 mm. The upper part of its body has a varied color from yellowish brown to grey. There are brownish crossbars across its body. This pattern loses its vivacity when the lizard gets old.
Desert Monitor lizards are secretive animals. They are only active and hunt for food in the early morning hours. The rest of the day is spent resting and hiding in their burrow. They love warm places and hibernation is not for them.
Their diet is made of toads, frogs, eggs, birds, snakes, other lizards, and rodents. They are carnivorous animals.
When they feel threatened, they stiffen their legs and raise their bodies in an arched position. They hiss and snarls and their necks are puff. They extend their long tongues and their tails are swish from side to side.
The female Desert Monitor lays eggs during the months of March to May every year. The eggs are nested in burrows and covered with debris and vegetation for protection. There are about 10 to 25 eggs laid by one female.
Desert Monitor lizards are the most widely distributed of all the monitor lizards in the Sahara. They are found in the dry places of the Middle East, Pakistan, and India. The population of these monitor lizards in Pakistan are divided into two kinds. They are the Caspian Monitor and the Indo-Pak Monitors.
These crocodiles are also known as the West African crocodile. They are commonly found the wetlands and lagoons of the forests in West and Central Africa.
An average Desert Crocodile has a length of 5 to 8 feet long from the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail. The adult female can grow to a body length of 10 to 13 feet. The adult male can grow up to 20 feet in body length. Its weight is about 2,000 pounds or 900 kilograms.
These crocodiles are caring and protective parents. They are always guarding their nests against all enemies. When it is time for their babies to come out, both parents will help their babies to hatch. They will put the eggs inside their mouths and crack each egg gently using their tongues.
Compared to the famous Nile Crocodiles, Desert Crocodiles are smaller in size and less aggressive. However, there are a number of reported attacks on humans that leads to death to some.
It is interesting to note that the native people of Mauritius who live near the habitats of these crocodiles are revering and protecting these animals up to this day. It is their belief that if these crocodiles will leave their waters, then their waters will dry up soon. It is happy to know that the humans and the Desert Crocodiles in this region are at peace with each other and there are no reported attacks on humans up to the present.
There has been confusion between the Nile Crocodiles and the West African Crocodiles for many years. The West African Crocodiles were believed to be Nile Crocodiles. However, starting in 2011, the confusion had been cleared out through DNA testing. The West African Crocodiles are different from the Nile Crocodiles. Most of the captive crocodiles Lyon Zoo, Copenhagen Zoo, and six zoos in the United States are actually West African Crocodiles and not Nile Crocodiles.
Saharan Silver Ants
This ant may be small in size but it has a very amazing and special adaptive capability. Its body has a silvery appearance due to its silver-colored hair. These hairs serve as the ant's protective coating from the extreme heat of the sun.
This coating is also their best survivable trait. It dictates their diet, their daily activities, and how to stay safe from their predators.
These ants stay at home all throughout the night and into the morning. They only come out of their homes in the middle of the day when the heat of the sun is at its peak. They go out in groups with one goal in mind. It is to find food as fast as they can.
They only have a 10-minute window to gather their food so they have to move fast. After 10 minutes of being out in the extreme heat of the sun, their chance to survive decreases.
Their defense mechanism only allows them to be protected from the heat of the sun for 10 minutes and not longer. They have three different defense mechanisms.
One, these ants have longer legs compared to other ant species. Their legs allow them to stand higher from the ground thus preventing their body from touching the hot ground that they walk on.
Two, their bodies are capable of releasing heat shock proteins. These proteins allow their bodies to lower their temperature so they will not experience heat stroke.
And three, they have their silvery coating all over their bodies. These silver hairs have the ability to reflect away the sunlight from the body of the ants. These hairs also have the ability to release body heat to keep them cool under extreme temperatures.
Scientists have been studying these defense mechanisms of these ants for some time. When they have discovered these mechanisms, scientists were inspired to use their discovery to build better technology that could withstand the extreme heat of the sun.
Golden Jackals are more related to the grey wolves and coyotes than the jackal species. They are also known as the gold-wolf, common jackal, and Asiatic jackal. These Sahara Desert animals inhabit Africa, Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Central Europe.
The adult female weighs 7 to 11 kilograms and the adult male weighs 6 to 13 kilograms. The body length of an adult jackal is about 85 centimeters and the shoulder height is about 50 centimeters.
Their fur color changes from one season to another. However, their prominent fur color is yellowish or golden with brownish shades. They have long legs and short bushy tails. Their black-tipped tails distinguished them from the other jackal species.
Golden Jackals make dens as their homes. These dens are usually made in leveled grounds or dense shrubs. The dens are about 1 meter in depth and 2 meters in length.
A pack of jackals is usually composed of 10 individuals. They always hunt together during the summer months. When they have an excessive amount of food after hunting, these animals practice food hoarding for later consumption.
These animals have the ability to form commensal relation with other animals like a tiger. It means that when a tiger makes a kill, the jackals will benefit from that kill as well.
One of their advantages from other animals is that they are great trackers of prey. They are also expert attackers to catch their prey. Some spotted hyenas will sometimes follow their tracks to make a catch, too.
Golden Jackals shed their fur twice each year. This happens during the seasons of spring and autumn.
Their diet is very varied depending on the availability of food and the place that they are in. Meat is their prime food option. However, they also eat different fruits, bulbs, and roots of plants if needed.
Jerboas are adapted to live in the hot desert of the Sahara. There are also other species of Jerboa that can live in cold deserts. They are from the family of jumping rodents. They are small mammals that have a highly developed sense of hearing and smelling.
These animals are nocturnal. They are most active during the night when the temperature of their environment is not hot. During the day, they are hiding in their burrows to protect themselves from the heat of the sun.
Most Jerboas are herbivores. They eat the leaves and other parts of plants. However, there are some species of Jerboa that are adapted to eat small insects. Their food is also their source of water. They never drink water throughout their life.
A healthy adult Jerboa can live up to 3 years in the average. Their body length excluding the tail is just about 6 inches. Their body weight ranges from 1 ounce to a few more ounces. Their tails can grow longer than the length of their body. Their long tails are used for balance when they stand on their two feet.
Jerboas can be described as an animal that is composed of the different parts of other animals. They have a body like that of a mouse. Their whiskers are long like that of cats. Their eyes are big and round like that of owls. Their ears can grow as long as that of a Jack Rabbit.
Their hind legs are longer than their front legs like that of the kangaroos. They are really good jumpers. They can jump up to 3 meters when running away from their predators. The color of their fur coat usually matches to the color of their environment for camouflage purposes.
Olive Baboons are native to the forest steppes and savannahs of Africa. They have thick fur coating that reflects a shade of olive green when seen from the distance. This is where their name came from. They are also called as the Anubis Baboons after the Egyptian god, Anubis.
These monkeys have long tails but their tails are not used for grabbing and holding on to things. Their tails are padded and they used them as their cushion when sitting.
The adult females can reach to the height of 60 centimeters up to their shoulders and the males can grow up to 70 centimeters. The females can weigh up to 20 kilograms and the males can weigh up to 25 kilograms. There are instances that the males can weigh as much as 50 kilograms when in suitable environment. They can live from 25 to 30 years in the wild.
Unlike other monkey species, Olive Baboons prefer to spend most of their on the ground hunting for food and water. They have hands like that of humans and they use these hands to look for food. They are omnivores but they mostly like to eat plants rather than meat. They are organized hunters. They work together when they needed to hunt other animals for food.
The female becomes sexually active when 8 years old and the male becomes sexually active when 10 years old. Six months after the mating season, baby baboons are born. Each female only gives birth to one baby. The babies are continuously protected by their moms up to 8 weeks after birth. However, there are baboon moms that choose to keep their babies close to them as long as they want for them to survive in the wild.
The female Olive Baboons have a complex ranking system. High-ranked females are those that are more fertile. They also have better sleeping places and good feeding. They are also well-groomed. The males and the low-ranked females are the ones that are grooming them.
Nubian Bustards are from the Otididae family. This specific species of bustards (Neotis nuba) is medium to large in size compared to other bustards. They are usually found in the northern region of Sahel and the southern region of Sahara Desert. There are sightings in the countries of Sudan, Nigeria, Niger, Mauritania, Mali, Chad, Cameroon, and Burkina Faso. They are adapted to live in dry shrublands and savannahs.
The adult male will usually weigh from 5 to 7 kilograms. Its body length is about 31 inches and the width including the wingspan is about 71 inches. The adult female is a little bit smaller in size than the male. It weighs about 3 kilograms. Its body length is about 24 inches and the width including the wingspan is about 59 inches.
Their bodies are more rounded. Their necks are long and thin. Their heads are rounded in proportion to their bodies. The upper parts of the male including the crown and forehead are marked with black. The tail is more greyish than black. The female has a similar color to the male but the shade is less intense.
Females usually lay their eggs and hatch between the months of July and October. There are usually 2 to 3 eggs in a nest. Eggs and hatchlings are put in danger all the time because of their predators like reptiles, carnivore mammals, and eagles.
The main food of Nubian Bustards is different kinds of insects. However, they also eat different fruits, seeds, and the gum of the Acacia tree as supplements to their diet.
The population of these birds is classified by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as "Near-Threatened". It means that there is already a threat that these birds will lose their habitat in the years to come.
Desert Hedgehogs are the smallest in size among the family of hedgehogs. Their body can grow from 140 mm to 280 mm in length. Their body can weigh from 280 grams to 510 grams.
They live in the desert regions of Africa and Middle East. Their favorable livable temperature range is between 104 degrees and 108 degrees Fahrenheit. It is quiet hot for a human to survive.
The spineless band on their face is their most distinctive feature. These animals can easily adapt to the environment that they are in that is why some of them are made into pets. The wild ones can live up to 4 years. The captive ones can live longer of up to 10 years.
They are nocturnal animals. They sleep during the day up to 18 hours. They make their homes near cliffs and rocks. These places are good hiding spots for them from their predators. They are also solitary animals. During winter season, they hibernate. This usually happens during the months of January and February when the temperature is the coldest.
Desert Hedgehogs also become less active during the hot summer months when there is a scarcity of food. They are mostly insect eaters. However, they will also eat other food options like scorpions, snakes, birds' eggs, and small invertebrates. When they eat scorpions, they have to bite off the stinger from the tail so they won't be poisoned.
The usual breeding month of hedgehogs is March of each year. The pregnancy will last for about 40 days. The female will give birth of up to 6 babies. The nest is hidden usually in the burrow for protection.
The babies are born deaf and blind. They are really helpless in this state. Their spines are situated under their skin and will start to show out a few hours after birth. Their eyes are only opened after 21 days. The young ones become independent when they are about 40 days old.
Slender Mongoose is the most common kind of mongoose in the Sahara. They can live up to 10 years in the wild. They are small-sized animals. The body length of an adult mongoose is from 11 to 16 inches. The length of the tail is from 9 to 13 inches. The body weight is from 460 to 715 grams.
The color of their fur coating ranges from grey to yellow to brown to orange and to dark red. Most of them have speckled fur. The tip of their tails has either red or black color depending on their subspecies.
They are called Slender Mongoose because they have a slender and long body. Their legs are short. Male mongoose is usually larger in size than the female mongoose.
These animals are very active all throughout the day. They can be active during the night when there is enough light from the moon. They are also tree climbers unlike the other kinds of mongoose.
Their habitats are in the semi-dry plains and savannah of the Sahara Desert in Africa. They are solitary animals and non-territorial. They have no problem sharing their homes to other kinds of mongoose. Sometimes, they also live in pairs. They make their dens in between rock crevices or inside hollow logs.
Their diet is mostly composed of eggs, carrion, amphibians, rodents, birds, lizards, snakes, and insects. However, when the need arises, they will also eat various fruits.
A female Slender Mongoose can give birth multiple times within a year. The duration of the pregnancy is about 70 days. Up to 3 babies are born in one pregnancy. Caring for the babies is the main responsibility of the mother. The males don't give a damn with the rearing of the young ones.
Spotted Hyenas are the most common of all the different types of hyenas in the world. They are also the largest when it comes to body size. The adults have about 2 meters in body length. Their tails are bushy and the length is from 25 to 30 centimeters. They can weigh about 82 kilograms. The female hyenas are heavier than the male hyenas.
They can be found across the Sahara Desert in Africa especially in forest edges, woodlands, grasslands, and savannahs. The color of their fur coating is like the shade of a ginger. Black spots are prominent on their legs and upper body. That is why they are called Spotted Hyenas. They also have a short mane from their neck down to their shoulders.
Hyenas are famous for being scavengers in the wild. They are carnivores and they love to eat the left-overs of other animals. They are not just good scavengers. They are great hunters, too. Most of their food does not come from scavenging. They actually hunt and kill their prey for food.
When they hunt, they usually go as a group. They are smart hunters and they work together to get their prey. Their list of prey is not only limited to small animals like insects, lizards, snakes, fish, and birds. They also prey on animals that are bigger than them like young hippos, zebras, antelopes, and wildebeests.
Spotted Hyenas have very strong jaws and teeth. When they eat, nothing is left of their victim except the horns if it is a horned animal. They will eat everything including the bones.
These animals have their own ranking system. A clan of hyenas is always led by an alpha female. Each clan is composed of about 80 individuals. The females are always in the hierarchy than the males.
One distinguishing feature of Barbary Sheep is that the hairs on the area of their throat down to the upper portion of their front legs grows very long that these almost touched the ground. Their horns are also large. Each winter, a new ring on the horn is made.
An adult sheep stands about 3 feet tall up to its shoulder. The body weight ranges from 40 to 140 kilograms. The length of the horns can reach up to 20 inches. The average lifespan is 15 years. However, in favorable living conditions, the lifespan can be as long as 20 years.
These animals are grazers. They will eat different kinds of grasses, young plants, flowers, shrubs, and leaves. They don't die if they have no access to any water source because they get their water supply from what they eat and from early morning dew. However, if they are near a water source, they love to take a dip in the water and drink a lot.
Barbary Sheep are very agile animals. It is easy for them to jump from one stone to another. They are also adapted to climb rocky and steep slopes. They are active during dawn and dusk when the temperature is not that hot and not that cold.
The mating season is from September to November. The duration of pregnancy is about 160 days. The mother can give birth up to three kids in each pregnancy. The kids become independent at about 4 months after birth.
These animals are high jumpers. When standing, they can jump to as high as 2 meters or higher. They also have good balance. Climbing on steep slopes is very easy for them. They have the ability to camouflage in their surroundings as their defense mechanism against their predators.
Oryx belongs to the antelope family. Their habitat is the dry places like steppes, savannas, and deserts within the south-southeastern region of Africa.
They are among the large kinds of antelope. Their body length can reach up to 7 feet. They can grow up to 35 inches in height. They can weigh up to 450 pounds. Their horns can grow up to 3 feet in length.
Oryx are territorial animals. A male Oryx dominates the herd. He uses his dung to mark his territory. The size of the herd is dependent on the availability of food. When there is lots of food source, the herd will have about 200 or more individuals. However, when the food source is low, the herd will separate into small groups of 30 individuals to survive.
They are herbivores. They mainly feed on shrubs and grasses. They only graze in the morning and the hours before dusk when the temperature is not that hot.
The sense of smell of Oryx is very sensitive. They can smell the scent of rain for as far as 50 miles. They are also fast runners. They can run up to 37 miles per hour to escape from their predators. Hyenas, lions, and wild dogs are their common predators.
Female Oryx can get pregnant anytime of the year. The pregnancy will last up to 8 ½ months. After giving birth, the female can get pregnant again.
Only one calf is being born in each pregnancy. The calf can already run right after being born. For about 2 weeks, the calf will remain hidden in the shrubs and grasses for protection. The young one is breastfeed for 9 months.
Both male and female Oryx will begin to be sexually active at 2 years of age. This is the time that the young male Oryx will go independent and look for other herds to join.
Secretary Birds are very big birds of prey. They prefer to live in scrub areas, open savannahs, and grasslands. They can live up to 15 years. They stand about 54 inches tall. Their wingspan can range from 75 to 87 inches. They can weigh up to 5 kilograms.
These birds have bodies that are similar to eagles. Their legs are like those of the cranes. They have hooked bills. Their plumages are greyish in color with streaks of white. Of all the birds of prey, they have the longest legs. They are the kinds of bird that prefer walking than flying. However, they are also great fliers. When they are flying, they look like cranes.
At night, they perch on the branches of Acacia trees. They start their hunt early in the morning. They are often living in pairs or in small groups of five members. They are territorial. Their territory can be as wide as 19 square miles.
Secretary Birds are carnivores. They eat different kinds of mammals like mongoose, hares, and mice. They also eat snakes, lizards, scorpions, crabs, insects, bird eggs, young birds, and tortoises. There are times that they will also eat animal carcasses.
These big birds stick to one partner throughout their life. They usually build their nests on big Acacia trees (about 23 feet above the ground). The nest is made of sticks. The dimensions are 1 foot in depth and 8 feet in width.
The female lays up to 3 eggs at a time. The eggs will hatch after 46 days of sitting. The male will sometimes help in sitting on the eggs. It is also the male's responsibility to look for food and bring it to the nest for the female to eat while she is sitting on the eggs.
These birds are great snake hunters. It is easy for them to hunt snakes even those venomous ones.
Cobras are the kind of snake that is both feared and respected by the human race. They are known also as the "hooded snake". They are poisonous. Their venom is injected through their fangs. They have great night vision and heightened sense of smell.
There are many kinds of cobras. Most of them grow up to the length of about 2 meters. However, there are some species that can grow longer than 2 meters. Examples are Forest Cobras (about 3 meters) and King Cobras (about 5 meters). The Mozambique Spitting Cobras are the smallest of them all. They are only about 1.2 meters in length.
These snakes prefer to live in dry places and their population is abundant in Sahara Desert. They are usually hiding in the trees, under the rocks, and underground.
Cobras display these following traits when threatened or hunting. They show their hoods and make hissing sounds. They will also stand erect by raising the upper part of their bodies. They are able to stand erect up to the third part of their entire body length.
Cobras lay eggs to reproduce. A female cobra can lay up to 40 eggs. After 80 days, the eggs will start to hatch and baby cobras emerge. There mammals that are known to be thief of cobra eggs. These are mongoose and wild boars. Adult cobras are constantly guarding the nesting ground to protect the eggs until they hatch.
Cobras eat other snakes, carrion, eggs, lizards, small mammals, and birds. They usually hunt during late afternoon or early morning. However, there are other species that will hunt even if the heat of the sun is at its peak. As snakes, their metabolism is very slow. One feeding can last them for some days, weeks, or months.
A Cobra bite is really fatal especially if it is not treated accordingly. Humans will usually die about 30 minutes after a cobra bites him and no treatment is given.
There are about more than 100 species of chameleons. Most of their species are found in Madagascar. The rest are scattered in Africa, Europe, and Asia. They have various habitats depending on the species – from deserts to rainforests.
Their body size also varies. There are species that are small in size (about half an inch in body length including the tail). The large chameleons can grow as long as 27 inches in body length including the tail. The length of their tongue is mostly twice the length of their body.
The camouflage characteristic of Chameleons makes them unique from the rest of their lizard family. There are cells under their skin that let them change their color to blend in the environment they are in. They change their colors for many reasons – when they are angry, to scare others away, to attract females during mating season, to absorb heat, to reflect heat, and to camouflage from their predators.
The eyes of the Chameleons have unique characteristics. Each eye can focus and rotate separately from each other. Each eye can focus on two different things at the same time giving the Chameleon 360-degree peripheral sight.
They have very sharp eyes that they can see even those small insects that are about 10 meters away from them. Their eyes are so powerful that they can see both UV and visible lights.
They use their tongue to catch their food. They aim their tongue towards their target prey. The end of their tongue will form into a suction cup and it will stick on the body of their prey. In as fast as 0.07 seconds, the target prey will end up into the mouth of the Chameleon.
They mostly feed on stick insects, crickets, grasshoppers, locusts, and other big insects. They also like to feed on young birds and other kinds of lizards.
Skinks belong to the lizard family. They are the kind of lizard that moves like snakes. They have small legs and no limbs. Just like lizards, they can regenerate a part of their body that is lost. Their body length can grow up to 15 centimeters.
The diet of these animals varies greatly depending on where they are living. There are others who are mainly insectivores. They will eat caterpillars, moth, butterflies, and flies. Others are carnivores because they will also eat snail and earthworms. There are also some of them who are herbivores since they will eat fruits and vegetables.
Skinks are excellent swimmers in the sand. Their habitat is in deserts and mountains. Some of their species are aquatic and they mainly live in rivers and lakes.
Female Skinks lay eggs and hatch these eggs in her tract. Inside the tract, the babies will further develop until it is time for them to go out. The babies will then go out of her tract as live births. The seasons for laying eggs are autumn and summer.
These animals usually make their homes in thick vegetation and human-made buildings. Most of them are often seen watching over their nests and eggs. If ever you have noticed a nest of Skinks in your area, then expect that in a month's time, there is a growth spurt in their population.
The length of pregnancy for their kind is a little bit long. A pregnant female is always an easy target to their predators. Their predators include other lizards, hawks, foxes, and raccoons.
These lizards love to dig in the ground and stay in their burrows. They spend most of their time in a day digging to escape from the heat of the desert sun. Once they are inside their burrows, they feel safe and secure from their many predators.
Dwarf Crocodiles are the smallest kind of crocodiles. Their habitats are isolated pools, seasonal floodplains, swamps, and dense rainforests. They are now considered as a threatened species. Their population is at risk of becoming extinct in the coming years because of human activities like hunting, industrialization, logging, and agriculture.
An adult Dwarf Crocodile can grow up to 5 feet in body length. There are instances that they can grow longer up to 6 feet. Its average weight ranges from 40 pounds to 70 pounds.
The color of its back and sides is black. The belly is yellowish in color with some black patches. Tough scales covered its whole body. These scales serve as its shield that will protect it from the heat of the sun and predators. These scales are so hard that they are sometimes called as bony plates.
They love to stay in the water most of the day. Their nose and eyes are strategically situated above their snout to allow them to breathe when they are submerged in the water. Their flat tails serve as their propeller in the water.
They are active when it is night time. They are carnivores. They feed on toads, fishes, and crustaceans.
When they are not submerged in the water during the day, you can see them out in the open basking under the sun. Basking helps them to keep warm and replenish the energy needed to go hunting during the night.
Dwarf Crocodiles have long lifespan in the wild – about 75 years. Their hiding places are usually roots of trees that are underwater. They also hide themselves in burrows that they dig themselves in the banks.
The mating season is during the months of May to June of each year. The female is expected to lay about 10 eggs. The incubation period is up to 105 days. It is the mother's responsibility to protect the nest and eggs from predators during incubation.
Lions are known as the second largest cat. They are a little bit smaller than tigers in body size. They are sociable animals. A group of lions is called a pride and it is mostly composed of 30 individuals. In a pride, there are three dominant males, 20 or more females, and the young ones. The number of individuals in a pride will get smaller when there is scarcity of food.
The roars of lions are very powerful. These can be heard from a distance of 5 miles. Male lions are responsible for maintaining and guarding of the territory. Their territory can be as wide as 100 square miles.
Female lions are the hunters of the pride. They always work together as a team when they hunt. They commonly hunt at night. They usually hunt giraffes, crocodiles, wild hogs, hippos, rhinoceros, young elephants, zebras, buffalos, and antelopes. They do not like to scavenge for food or steal the food of other carnivores.
Their hunt is then shared to the whole pride. The dominant males will first consume the hunt followed by the females. The young ones are the last to eat.
Compared to all the big cats in the world, the Lions are the laziest. Most of their time during the day is spend on resting and sleeping. You can always see them lying on their backs or sleeping on a branch of a tree during the day.
A female Lion will usually give birth up to 3 cubs in one pregnancy. Two females will usually get pregnant and give birth at the same time. The young ones are raised communally.
Female cubs are fortunate because they will stay with the pride as they grow old. They will be train to hunt and become experts in hunting at the age of two. Male cubs are somewhat unfortunate. When they are two years old, they have to leave their home pride and join a bachelor pride.
Gerbils are the kind of animals that are calm and quiet in nature. They are not easily frightened. They are also curious and probing whenever and wherever they can. They are omnivore mammals. They can grow from 15 to 30 centimeters in length including the tail. They weigh about 50 grams. They can live up to 3 years.
They are also known as desert rats. However, they are a little bit different from rats. In situations when their tails get caught, they will choose to let go of their tails than to be caught by their predators.
They live in underground tunnels that are interconnected with the rest of the group. This is where they most of their time. They only leave their burrows to look for food and water.
They have a unique way of washing their bodies. They do not use water. Instead, they use the sand to wash off any dirt and debris that are stuck on their fur. After rolling their bodies in the sand, their fur becomes shiny and smooth.
Gerbils are very sociable and playful animals. They live in big groups of their own kind. They love to do dummy fights against each other. These are the kinds of fights where the adult ones are teaching the young ones how to defend themselves against their enemies. There are also instances that these fights are used by adult males to establish their dominance over everyone else in their group.
There are more than a hundred different kinds of Gerbils in the wild. You can find the largest Gerbil in Turkmenistan. They are called the Great Gerbil. They have a body length of about 16 inches.
The Mongolian Gerbil is the most common of all Gerbils in the world. They are also known as small-clawed warrior.
Cape Hares are a common sight in the African continent. They can also be found in other continents like Europe, Asia, Middle East, and Australia. There are about 12 subspecies of their kind. They are also known as Brown Hares and Common Hares.
The adult hares can weigh from 1.5 to 2.5 kilograms. The female hares are a little bit larger in body size than the male hares. They have brownish-grey fur coat. Their tails have the combination of white and black colors. Their ears are really long.
Cape Hares are herbivores. Their diet is mainly composed of grass and shrubs. They love grazing and browsing during the day. One interesting trait about them is that they eat their own feces or waste that came from their anuses. The reason why they do this is that they have very simple digestive system. Their droppings are usually half-digested. These are the only ones that will be eaten again. Those normal feces that are already digested will not be consumed.
These hares are always sexually active all year round. Rainy season is when most of the female hares are giving birth. The baby is called as leveret. The pregnancy duration lasts for about 42 days. Up to three babies are born in every pregnancy.
Right after birth, the babies' eyes are already open. After 48 hours, the babies will be able to move on their own and hear sounds. The mother breastfeeds every night for ten minutes only. The whole length of the lactating period is about three weeks.
Cape Hares are not so sociable at all. They prefer to live a solitary life. The only that they will be in groups is when a female is ready to mate. A bunch of male hares will follow the female hare during this time.
Fallow Deer have medium-sized bodies. Their light brown furs are covered with white spots that do not fade after birth. As they grow old, their antlers also grow in width up to 20 inches. The males will grow their antlers up to this size within 3 years. A grown adult male can weigh up to 200 pounds. A grown female can weigh up to 90 pounds.
These deer are very fast runners. Their legs even if they are short in proportion to their body size are well-developed for jumping high and running fast.
They prefer to graze in the open fields. Their staple food is green grasses. Most hours during the day is spent on grazing and searching for grasses to eat. Their first option is to eat green grasses. However, if no greens are available, then they will be forced to eat brown grasses. If there are no grasses to be found, then the barks of trees are their last resort.
Their dens are inside wooded areas. This is where they feel safe when resting and sleeping. They make sure that the place where they live will have enough food during the summer months. They will also see to it that they will still find some food through the winter months.
The mating season is from September to November. This is the time that the males will be very aggressive in finding a mate. The size of antlers of the male is one of the factors that can help him in getting the attention of a female.
The female deer will be pregnant for 240 days. The babies are born within the months of May and June. One to two babies are born in each pregnancy. In the wild, their lifespan can reach up to 20 years.
African Wild Asses
Within the horse family, African Wild Asses are the smallest. They are widely found in the eastern part of Africa. They live in desert areas, dry places, and rocky regions. Their species is already considered as critically endangered because their population is only less than a thousand in the wild.
A full grown wild ass can stand up to 59 inches. The body length is about 6 feet long. The weight ranges from 440 pounds to 510 pounds. Their back has grayish furs. Their underside has white furs. They also have a dark stripe that starts from the head and ends at their tail.
Their sense of hearing is very sensitive. Their ears are also use as cooling mechanism to emit excessive heat from their body. They prefer to rest and sleep during the hottest hours of each day. They are more active when it is dawn and dusk because the temperature is not hot.
African Wild Asses are herbivores and they graze for leaves, barks, herbs, and various kinds of grasses. They are also fast runners. Their top speed is about 43 mph. They are quite noisy animals. Their sounds can be heard almost 2 miles afar. The males are very loud when it is time to mate.
They are territorial animals and their territory has a scope of 9 square miles. They pile their dungs to mark the area of their territory. They have the option to live a solitary life or join a herd. One herd is composed of about 50 individuals. Full grown males are usually the leaders of the herd.
A female wild ass only mates every two years. The duration of the pregnancy is about a year. Only one baby is born in every pregnancy.
There are African Wild Asses that have been domesticated. Their expected lifespan in captivity is about 40 years.
Striped Polecats are also known as Zorilla or African Polecat. They are related to the African Weasels. However, they have larger body size than the weasels, longer fur coats, and three white dots on their heads.
They have a body length of about 350 mm and their tail length is about 200 mm. Full grown adults weigh from 640 grams to 1 kilogram. Their fur coat is black with white stripe. Their tails are bushy.
Their staple food is rodents. However, they may also eat some small animals like insects, lizards, centipedes, spiders, scorpions, and snakes. They also eat invertebrates.
The breeding season ranges from spring to summer. The pregnancy duration is about 36 days or more. Up to three babies are born in each pregnancy. The babies will open their eyes after 40 days. Their canine teeth will start to emerge after 33 days. They are considered adults after 20 weeks.
Striped Polecats are solitary animals. The young ones stay with their mother until they are old enough to be independent. They live in a wide range of habitats but they don't live in dense and evergreen forests.
They have 5 toes on each foot. The front feet have long and strong claws. The claws are curved in shape. The length of the front claws is about 18 mm. The hind feet have claws that are shorter and less curved. The length of the claws is about 10 mm.
Striped Polecats have a unique ability to defend themselves against their enemies. They release a very bad smell through their anus. The smell is so powerful that even large animals can't stand it. There was a recorded observation in the wild that a polecat defended itself from three lions. After releasing that bad smell, all three lions lost their courage and move as far away as possible from the polecat.
Bateleur Eagles are native in the southern region of the Sahara Desert in Africa. They are perch on large bushes and trees in the savannah. They prefer to live in open fields than in thick forests. You can often see them on the branches of the Acacia trees in the savannah or in open grasslands looking for food. Their species is now extremely threatened and there are some areas in southern Africa that they are already extinct.
Of all the snake-eating eagles, they are the most popular ones. Their name is French in origin and it means a tight-rope walker. Their name is derived from their excellent aerial acrobatics.
The characteristic traits of Bateleur Eagles are their feather colors and facial appearance. They have black feathers. Under their wings are some white feathers. They also have reddish-brown feathers on their upper back and tail. Their beak is black. Their legs and face have a bright red color.
Their young ones have dark brown feathers during their first year. They will shed and change the color of their feathers to grey, white, and black from three years of age and onwards. At eight years old, they have fully shed their old feathers and become adults.
Bateleur Eagles have very long wings but their tails are short. When they are in flight, their feet are extended beyond their tails. Every day, they will spend about 9 hours hunting for food. They will hunt for lizards, carrion, snakes, other birds, mice, and antelopes. They will scavenge for road kills.
The female Bateleur is larger than the male. Each female will lay only one egg in each breeding season. The female is responsible for egg incubation and the male is tasked to hunt and deliver food for the female. The egg will hatch after 59 days of incubation. The young one will leave from its parent's nest after 110 days although the parents will continue to give food to their child for the next 100 days. After that, the young one is on its own.
Guinea Fowls belong to the family of chickens, turkeys, quail, grouse, and pheasant. These birds originate in Africa. One of their kinds, the Helmeted Guinea Fowls, was introduced to other countries. There are people who raise these animals for their eggs and for food, too.
The personality of Guineas is sometimes comical. Experts had observed that they usually spend several hours each day watching their reflection from glass walls and patio doors. There are some people who keep Guineas just for the fun of watching these animals watch themselves every day.
They are territorial birds and don't like that other animals will enter into their space. They are also noisy and will make loud chirping sounds as their alarm call when anything suspicious is within their territory. There are farmers who use them as watch birds to protect the farm from egg-eating predators like opossum, raccoon, coyote, and fox. They are also excellent in snake control. They have the habit of working together as a team to kill and eat snakes.
Female Guineas are seasonal egg layers. The female will lay an egg a day until there are about 30 eggs in the nest. The eggs are incubated for 28 days. One bad side of the females is that they are careless mothers. After the eggs hatch, the mother will lead the chicks outside to look for food but she will totally ignore all of the chicks. Many of the hatchlings won't be able to return back to their mothers.
Their diet is made of insects and seeds. They are great bug eaters and there are farmers who use them to help control the population of grasshoppers and tick in the farm. They can also help in weed control because they only eat the seeds of weeds and not the seeds of other plants.
African Spotted Eagle Owls
Eagle Owls are among the biggest in the family of owls. However, African Spotted Eagle Owls are considered as the smallest in size in the Eagle Owl group. They only stand at the height of 45 centimeters and weigh up to 850 grams.
In general, their color ranges from brown to grey. There are also blotches and white spots on their feathers. They also have ear tufts that are a common feature of owls. They always use their strong and long claws to catch their food.
Their wings have a sawlike designed to let them fly quietly. They are so quiet that their prey will never know that they are being hunted until they are already grasped by the strong claws of the owl.
The eyes of African Spotted Eagle Owls are like binoculars. They can see accurately from afar. Since they have long distance vision, their short range vision is compensated by a bunch of feathers near the beak. These feathers are called crines and are very sensitive especially in locating dead animals for food.
Their ears are also very sensitive to the sounds made in their surroundings. They can easily tell where their prey is located just by the sound that they hear. This ability is very useful to them because they always hunt during the night. They prey on reptiles, amphibians, insects, bats, birds, and small mammals.
These owls stick with one partner during their entire life. One nest is usually handed down from one generation of owls to the next. The female lays up to 3 eggs in one season. Sitting on the eggs will last for a month. The young ones are fed and taken care of by their parents for about 6 months until they can learn to live on their own.
Sand Cats are among the kind of animals that can live and survive in dry and hot regions like deserts where there is scarcity of water source. Their bodies are adapted to go on for days up to 2 months without drinking water. They get their water requirement from what they eat.
They are small mammals. Their body length is from 15 to 20 inches. They have long tails ranging from 9 to 12 inches in length. They can weigh up to 7 pounds. Their legs are short. The front paws have sharp claws and the hind paws have blunt paws. Their body is covered with fur with colors ranging from black to grey to brown. They have either stripes or spots or both on their fur.
The ears of the Sand Cats are used to locate where the prey is. These cats are carnivores and they feed on snakes, lizards, insects, small rodents, reptiles, and birds. They have the habit of storing their leftovers in the sand for future consumption. They always hunt during the night so they won't have to deal with extreme heat during the day.
Their habitats are in sandy, dry, and stony areas in the Sahara Desert. They usually occupy abandoned burrows where other mammals used to live.
Sand Cats prefer to live a solitary life. They only gather together with their kind when it is time to mate. Their way of communication is through the scents that they leave behind. They also leave markings on objects using their urine and claws.
The female Sand Cat gets pregnant twice a year. Each pregnancy will last for about 60 days. Up to 4 kittens are born in each pregnancy. The kittens are fast growers. In less than 2 months, they are not dependent on their mother's milk anymore.
Pale Crag Martins
Pale Crag Martins belong to the family of swallows. They are common in southwestern Asia and northern Africa. They live in rocky areas in the mountains up to 12,000 feet above sea level and also around towns in lower altitudes. Their habitat is usually far from water sources.
Their body is about 5 inches in length. The tail length is about 2 inches. The length of their wings is 4.5 inches. They have brown feathers. You can see some white feathers when their tails are spread out.
They hunt for insects along the cliff faces. The list of insects includes beetles, ants, bees, wasps, sawflies, flies, and mosquitoes. They drink water during their flight as they skim on the surface of water.
They mostly build their nests under cliff overhangs and sometimes on bridges and buildings. They need wet soil or mud to glue together the materials for their nests like leaves and feathers. A nest will be used continuously for many years. These birds are solitary breeders especially those in the Sahara Desert, but there are times that a small group may breed together in favorable places.
A female Pale Crag Martin will lay up to 3 eggs in one breeding season. The breeding season is usually dependent on the local weather of their habitat. In Africa, the months of February to April are the common breeding season. The mother will sit on the eggs for 19 days at the most. When the eggs hatch, the parents will take care of the chicks. They take their first flight when 24 days old. Once they learn how to fly, they are starting to be independent.
Their main predators are the falcons especially the Taita Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Eurasian Hobby, and African Hobby. They are often hunted when in flight.
Fan-Tailed Ravens are member of the black crow family that is found in the Tibesti and Middle East. Their body length is only 47 centimeters. Their wingspan is from 102 to 120 centimeters. They weight ranges from 340 to 550 grams.
They have round-shaped tails that give the birds their distinctive shape when flying. They look tailless because of their wide wingspan. Their feathers are totally black in color. Their legs, feet, and bill are also black.
Fan-Tailed Ravens are very common in their native habitat. They can be seen in cliff faces and dry terrains in desert regions. The cliffs are where they usually build their nests. These are the places that are inaccessible to humans and other animals that endanger their little ones. Their nests are mainly made of soft materials like green twigs, cloth, hair, wool, roots, and sticks.
A female raven will lay up to 4 eggs. The eggs are glossy in texture and blue-green in color. The incubation period is about 20 days or less. When the eggs hatch, the feathers of the babies do not display the glossy texture yet. They will acquire this glossy texture when they shed their feathers and the glossy ones will replace them.
They usually forage in pairs on the ground. They scavenge for food in picnic sites, rubbish dumps, and any area where there is a human settlement. They feed on rubbish, scraps, and remains of dead animals. They travel to distant places, if needed, to look for food. If there are no rubbishes to feed on, they will hunt for invertebrates and insects. They also eat fruits and berries, if needed.
The population of Fan-Tailed Ravens is still not considered as threatened worldwide.
African Clawed Frogs
African Clawed Frogs are the kind of frogs that are mostly used in research laboratories. They are abundant in the African continent but they have invaded other continents because the research laboratories will just re-introduce them into the wild near their facilities.
These frogs originally inhabit the southern region of the Sahara Desert along the African Rift Valley. They do not running streams. They prefer stagnant, warm, and quiet waters. They are aquatic amphibians. They will only be forced to leave the water if they have to look for another pool of water to inhabit.
Their bodies are flat. Their heads are small and wedge-shaped. Their skin is smooth and has different colors to help them camouflage against their enemies. They can change their appearance so they can blend into the environment that they are in. They can make their skin colors mottled, lighter, or darker.
The females are larger in size than the males. Females range from 10 to 12 centimeters in body length and weigh about 200 grams. Males range from 5 to 6 centimeters in body length and weigh about 60 grams.
African Clawed Frogs are scavengers of water insects, insect larvae, small fish, crustaceans, worms, tadpoles, and freshwater snails. They are always hungry. They will eat anything edible to them that will come on their way. They have three traits that help them to locate their food. These are the lateral line system on their sides, their sensitive nose, and their sensitive fingers.
These frogs become sexually active when they are about a year old. Females will lay 500 to 2000 eggs in one season. These eggs are so sticky so they can stick to any object underwater. The eggs will hatch in a week's time. The tadpoles are about 2/5 of a centimeter in length.
The name "caracal" is derived from the Turkish word for black ear (i.e. karukulak). That is one of the main characteristic features of this breed of feline – a pair of long ears that are covered mostly in small black hairs. These black tufts of hair can grow up to 1.75 inches in length.
The caracal is also known as the desert lynx. However, this cat doesn't have the same characteristics as an actual lynx.
The caracal actually has a dense and more even coat all over its body. The black hairs at the tips of the ears also stand out as primary features. The color of its pelt goes anywhere from the many shades of tawny brown all the way to a nice brick red.
Back in the day in some parts of the world such as India and Iran, the caracal was used in bird hunting. They had to capture and tame the animal first. This feline is actually an efficient bird hunter since it is capable of jumping up in the air capturing a bunch of birds in mid-air.
Caracals prefer to live in woodland regions and drier savannahs and also in the sub-Saharan regions of Africa. They like to stay where there are plenty of scrubs to serve as hiding spots and cover.
You can also find them in forests and woody mountainous areas. However, they do not like to stay in places with tropical weather. They can be found in the Middle East, southwest Asia, as well as in west, south, and central Africa.
The Denham's Bustard is the second largest species of the bustards alive. They are only slightly smaller to the biggest bustard in existence—the Arabian bustards. The third largest bustard bird is also only a little smaller to the Denham's, which are known as the Nubian bustards.
This bustard has very peculiar colored feathers. They have a pale grey coloration at the front and pale orange colored feathers at the back. This pattern is joined at the nape, which has bright orange feathers. The Denham's Bustard also has a long slender neck.
Male Denham's bustards have dull brown back and wing feathers. Their tail feathers have uneven black and white coloration. The same pattern is also found in their wings. This pattern is slightly visible when the wings are folded but is revealed fully when they take flight.
The males are usually a lot bigger than their female counterparts. Males can weigh up to 14 kilograms during the mating season. However, they drop down in weight and lose around 4 kilograms when the season is over.
These birds tend to make seasonal movements across the northern ranges of West Africa. One reason why they do this is due to the amount of rainfall available.
Wherever they settle, males tend to form their territories and have polygynous mating systems where there are several females living within the territory of one male. However, Denham's bustards tend to form in pairs exclusively in some areas.
Mating rituals and associations tend to form depending on the size of the population. Whenever the bustard population is high they form polygynous relationships and they tend to go in pairs when the population is low.
However, these birds tend to live solitary lives when the mating season is over. Nevertheless, they tend to congregate wherever there are large sources of food.
These birds live in the Sahelo-Saharan range and prefer to stay in the grasslands where there are more open spaces. These areas are full of grasshoppers and crickets, which serve as their primary diet.
If you are looking for one of the most imposing faced birds alive today, you don't need to look any further than the Lappet-Faced Vulture. It has a massive beak that looks a lot like a meat hook, which makes it look quite menacing.
It has a wing span that reaches to almost 3 meters. This vulture is also quite heavy weighing up to 10 kilograms and standing taller than 3 feet.
The lappet-faced vulture usually stays away from wooded areas especially dense woodlands. These birds prefer to live in wide open spaces like savannas that don't have a lot of tree cover. That way they can easily spot targets on the ground.
Lappet-faced vultures are sensitive when it comes to their territory. They mainly do not like their nests being disturbed. When that happens they tend to retreat away from any possible threats. They usually make their home on thorn trees making nests in the canopies.
Their diet mainly consists of carrion (i.e. decaying flesh) just like other vultures. They also prefer those coming from smaller dead animals such as rabbits and hares, gazelles, and others. However, they are opportunistic as well since they too try their luck on small birds and insects as well.
The female lappet-faced vulture only lays one egg at a time. The average lifespan of this breed of vulture is anywhere from 20 to 50 years.
One of the biggest reasons why this bird is going extinct is due to poisoning. Poachers often use poison to capture animals and the carcasses are left behind. The poison remains in the animal's flesh and are eaten by these vultures.
There are also poachers who intentionally poison a carcass in order to capture these vultures. Lappet-faced vulture numbers have been significantly reduced and are believed to already be extinct in some parts of Africa.
Mouse-tailed bats derive their name from their characteristically longer tails. That is also why they are also known as long-tailed bats. In fact, their tails are almost as long as their entire body.
This is a unique feature that is peculiar to this bat species. Note that this tail is long and slender.
Mouse-tailed bats are actually small to medium sized bats. Their body length ranges from 2 to 3.5 cm – that doesn't include the tail though. If you want to measure their total length then you should expect that length to almost double.
The coats on their back are usually grey or brown in color. However, there are bats of this species that have darker colored back hairs – some even have dark brown shades of hair. Their undersides on the other hand have lighter coloration.
Mouse-tailed bats live across the Sahara and they can also be found in areas in West Africa. They can also be found in areas in Asia such as Thailand and India as well as the Middle East.
These bats love to stay in extremely dry regions, which is why the desert is a perfect place for them. They thrive in characteristically arid places. Other than deserts they can also be found living in dry woodlands living in caves and rock clefts.
Note that they can also be found in human habitations too. They have been spotted roosting in buildings as well.
Just like other species of bats, their main diet consists of insects. Some of their staples include moths, beetles, termites, and other flying insects. Mouse-tailed bats can be seen flying around and snatching their prey in midair.
Cairo Spiny Mouse
The Cairo spiny mouse lives in many countries and places such as Sudan, Eritrea, Morocco, Sahara, and of course Egypt—they wouldn't call it a "Cairo" mouse if it didn't live anywhere in Egypt, right?
However, this species of mouse do not only prefer to live in urban areas. Yes, they can be found in cities living in crevices of buildings. They can also be found living outside and away from human habitats.
They tend to live near cliffs, canyons, as well as in rocky habitats. They prefer to live in rocky areas not on sandy surfaces. You will find them in burrows and other areas on the ground.
They may also climb trees occasionally but they do not make tree hollows their home. You see, those are the places where their predators like snakes and birds of prey may live in.
They also thrive in grasslands and savannas. They also live well in dunes and deserts. They can be found living in temperate regions too. However, do take note that this species of spiny mice do not live in areas with elevations of 1,500 meters high. That means they may live in cliffs and mountains but you won't find them way up high in these land formations.
The Cairo spiny mouse usually has a gray brown coat. Some of them have sandy colored coats too. The "spiny" part of their name comes from the fact that their backs have spiny hairs that resemble the spines that can be found in other small animals such as hedgehogs.
Their upper body is either brown or grey (there are beige coats) and their underside has white colored fur. They grow from 7 to 17 cm long and they only weigh anywhere from 30 to 70 grams.
Another one of the characteristic features of this mouse is their hairless scaly tail. This tail grows from 5 to 12 cm. There are no distinguishing features for male or female Cairo spiny mice.
Desert Long-Eared Bats
Some have described the desert long-eared bat as resembling the appearance of a gremlin, you know those folkloric creatures of mischief from the popular 1984 movie. Well, maybe they do, perhaps only around the ears and partially on the eyes.
These bats have coats that are pale white. The wing membranes are partially translucent when they are stretched out to fly. One of their most notable features is the pair of large ears, which are sometimes much larger than their head—that feature is also responsible for the name of this creature.
They also have impressive rows of teeth and because of these features some people mistake the desert long-eared bats as the rather predatory false vampire bats known as megadermatids.
It has been observed that when this bat species fly their wings would have low aspect ratios. They would fly using low wing loading. That means they prefer to catch their prey that are on the ground. It has been suggested that they prefer to target insects and small vertebrates.
They would land briefly on the ground to catch their prey and only staying on the ground for only a few seconds (average of 2 to 5 seconds). After subduing their prey, they would take off, and carry it and eat while in flight.
Their favorite food are small insects that travel on the ground and beetle larvae. Their diet consists of crickets, cockroaches, beetles, solifugids, and scorpions.
Just like other bats they make noises when they fly, making use of their sonar-like capabilities. They usually use this ability to detect scorpions on the ground.
When they drop on scorpions they would take a few seconds to subdue their target. In the process they would get stung several times but it would never affect them. They attack any scorpion no matter how big it is or how poisonous it can be.
The kob is an antelope species that can be found in 15 African countries. Some people might mistake it for an impala but this species is bigger and has a more solid build.
The male kob is bigger than the female plus the males also have horns. The shoulder height of an average male is 90–100 cm and on average they would weigh about 94 kg.
The female kobs on the other hand would have a shoulder height of 82–92 cm and would weigh about 63 kg on average (that's around 139 pounds).
Kobs just like other antelope species are herbivores and they can live in savanna woodlands, flood plains, and grasslands. Their average lifespan is about 17 years when kept in captivity.
Kobs can be found today in the plains of West Africa and also in central East Africa. They prefer to roam in flat areas where they can maximize their running speed.
They usually prefer places where the climate tends to remain consistent as possible. However, they can also be found in any open country as long as there is a permanent water source.
Since their lives depend on their source of water, you won't find them wandering too far from sources of water. However, during the rainy season, kobs tend to range on short grasses. Plus small pockets of water also help to hydrate them during that time of the year.
There are female herds among kob populations and there are all male herds as well. A female herd is led by a mother kob and they can reach up to several hundred kobs. The younger kobs learn to follow their mother and she leads them to one source of water to another.
Males in a female herd tend to follow where the mother goes too. Male herds are fewer in number. They usually just follow the females when they travel during the dry seasons.
The African Mantis is larger than the regular mantis that we see in our everyday environment. Not only is it a bigger species it is also a lot fiercer. However, in spite of its temperament it is still kept as a pet by some people.
Some are amazed at its prowess as a hunter. Sometimes they give their pet mantis live prey so they could watch its hunting skills in action. Other than that, another reason why people love to keep it as a pet is because the African Mantis is relatively easy to care for.
This type of mantis lives in sub-Saharan Africa, which means the owners will have to try and mimic the environmental conditions there for this insect to thrive.
Just like other types of mantis this species is also primarily green in color. However, there are also brown and beige colored variants of the African Mantis.
So, why are there color variants? Well that is largely due to the environment where the mantis lives. An African Mantis will adapt to its environment thus it will change colors as needed.
If you keep a brown colored variant of this mantis breed, pay attention to its eyes. They will usually be colored purple and they will be very beautiful.
This mantis breed is also much larger than the huge mantises that you will see in other parts of the world. Again, just like other mantis species, the females are usually a bit bigger than the males.
A male African Mantis can grow as long as six to seven centimeters. A female mantis can grow as long as 8 centimeters.
A male African Mantis will also have wings that are a bit longer than its body, which will help you identify it. These wings tend to be thinner too compared to that of the females.
A female mantis's wings will only extend up to her abdomen. One of its distinguishing marks is that yellowish dot on her wings.
It is so amazing to know how these Sahara Desert animals live in this arid region of the world. Some of them are in the brink of extinction. Since humans are the major contributor of the threatened state of these animals, let us do our part to save them from being lost forever.
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