ANIMAL DIVERSITY: ANTELOPES OF A DIFFERENT COLOR AND STRIPE

 

There is  a seemingly unending array of wildlife,  but nature seems to have a sense humor about some  as they  appear to be a living  patchwork quilt.

TOPI  – Topi are antelopes that are found in large numbers in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park where I was fortunate to get some photos.  They are very gregarious and live in large herds.  They are also quite comfortable sharing their territory with other antelopes such as wildebeest as well as zebras and ostriches.

Male topi have a very unique way of fighting a challenger for a female. Both males will get down on their knees and duel with their horns.

The topi also has very striking coloring, looking like a patchwork put together.  The coat is reddish-brown to purplish red and in sunlight is iridescent. Their faces and the upper part of their legs have black patches. The bottom half of their limbs have distinct tan colorings making it look as those they are wearing knee-highs.

 

GERENUK – This  is an elegant looking gazelle.  It is exceedingly rare and is an endangered species do to loss of habitat.

What a shame – look at its most exotic face (from the internet)

I didn’t know that the gerenuk has a very unique way of eating when I photographed it  in Africa  since it was standing on all fours. It’s nickname gives it away:    It is called a giraffe-gazelle.  The gerenuk uses its very long neck and ability to stand on its hind legs to reach for those succulent green morsels at the upper parts of bushes and trees.  (Photo from internet):

 

OKAPI – looking like a cross between a deer and a zebra, the okapi is actually the giraffe’s only living relative.  .  The only place it is found in the wild is the Democratic Republic of Congo.    Like a cow, the okapi has four stomachs that aid with digesting tough plants. Also like its giraffe cousin, the okapi has a long, dark tongue that can strip leaves.

I have not yet been to the Congo, but have seen the okapi in several National zoos – they are quite a hodgepodge.

 

Finally this is another antelope I have never seen in the wild or in a reserve or zoo  but I think it wins the prize for strangest looking animal in this post – photos from the internet.

SAIGA ANTELOPE –  The endangered Saiga is small, about the size of a German Shepherd and it lives in the cold, stark steppes of Eurasia.

Its bulbous nose is its main attraction and surprisingly the only other animal with a similarly structured nose is the whale!   It is believed that this nose helps the Saiga  warm up the frigid winter air as well as  filter out dust during the arid summer. Of course it also give the Saiga an excellent sense of smell.

Nature can be strange.

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