African Animals Competition

Look at the pictures on our African Animals board. Here are the answers to the questions. How many did you answer?

1. Which can run faster – an oryx or a cheetah?
The cheetah is the fastest runner of any animal, but over short distances only.

2. How is a cheetah more like a dog than a cat?
A cheetah has claws like a dog to help it run fast and grip the ground. A cat has retractile claws that it can pull into its pads and keep sharp to climb trees – like a leopard.

3. Gorillas and chimpanzees are two of the great apes. What are the other two?
The Great Apes are members of the biological family ‘Hominidae’ which includes gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans and humans. Bonobos are a type of pygmy chimpanzee.

4. What big difference can you see between a monkey and a chimpanzee?
Monkeys have tails and chimps don’t. (Neither do the other great apes)

5. This rhino is a browser. What is a browser?
Browsers are animals that eat leaves, fruit and twigs, rather than grass as grazers do. In Africa there are two sorts of rhino; the black rhino has a hooked lip for feeding on shrubs, while the white rhino has a square lip and teeth designed to eat grass. (Both black and white rhinos are grey!)

6. How many bones are there in a giraffe’s neck?
Seven – just like you!

7. What’s the fur round this lion’s neck called?
A mane. Only adult male lions have a mane.

8. What’s a group of lions called?
A pride of lions.

9. What do hippos eat?
Hippos eat grass. They come out of the rivers at night when it is cooler and graze.

10. Why do elephants cover themselves in dust?
Elephants use their trunks to cover themselves in dust and they also roll in mud. This helps protect them from the many biting insects.

11. Why do elephants have such big ears?
Keeping cool is very difficult for big animals. An elephant’s ears have many blood vessels and by gently flapping their ears, elephants are able to cool their blood – rather like using a fan.

12. In what sort of habitat do oryx live?
Oryx are a big antelope that live in the semi-desert regions of east and northern Africa (and also Arabia). They can survive without water for long periods.

13. Why do zebras have stripes?
The vertical stripes help to camouflage zebras in the tall grass. This may seem strange, but did you know that lions – (the main predator of zebras) are colour blind! The stripes also help confuse the zebras’ outlines, especially when they are in a herd. They may look like one very big animal!

14. Which is your favourite African animal? Why? (It doesn’t have to be one on the board, but it does have to be African)
Well, Louise chose a cheetah, Kieran a crocodile and James a giraffe. Gracie likes owls – although owls live in many parts of the world, not just Africa. And sorry Alex, there are many snakes in Africa, but the fifty different species of rattlesnakes are native to America. I find it very hard to choose, but I think my favourite has to be a leopard: it’s very clever, very secretive and, oh so beautiful. To see a leopard in the wild is the most amazing thrill!

Mrs. C Scott
January 2008

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