#WildlifeWednesday: 5 SA animals you should get to know better

2017-10-31 06:45 - Gabi Zietsman
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Cape Town - #WildlifeWednesday is your weekly animal fix to remind you that although humans can be pretty terrible to the world, our animals make life a little better.

South Africa is blessed with some of the most diverse and extraordinary animal species in the world. From the exciting Big five, to our scaly lizards and snakes, to our playful marine animals, we have a lot of everything.

SEE: #ShockWildlifeTruths: Why foreign tourists like the B&B crew should stop cub petting

Unfortunately not only does our wildlife attract visitors from all over the world, they also catch the eye of poachers and smuggling rings who threaten the very existence of many of our species. Habitat loss and pollution is also a far reaching factor that contribute to declining numbers.

Hopefully these animals will inspire you to make sure that our country's animals will still be around for future generations.

The Wily Likkewaan

Local to South Africa, can grow up to 1,5m, and weigh up to 8kg, making it one of the heaviest lizards found in Africa.

They are quite intelligent, and it has been proven that they can count up to six!

SEE: Monitor lizard tries to give leopard a slap

The Elusive Namaqua Chameleon

The  Namaqua Chameleon lives in arid desert regions in South Africa, Namibia and Angola.

To conserve their water, these ground chameleons expel salt from their nasal glands, and dig holes to stay cool. At one point many were outfitted with ID microchips so that they can be tracked in cases of illegal trafficking.

SEE: PICS: Winners of the SANParks Photo Competition

The Friendly Cape Fur Seals

The Cape Fur Seals, also known as the ‘dogs of the sea’, are a curios bunch who love to eat pilchards and anchovies, though sometimes they can end up on a Great White Shark’s menu!

They love to swim with scuba divers and snorkelers, but on land they tend to run away from humans. They are extremely agile in the water and can swim up to 28km/h, great for escaping pesky sharks.

WATCH: Wild seal makes appearance on Alaska airport's runway

The Powerful Ostrich

Did you know the ostrich is not only the largest bird in the world, it is also the fastest on land - reaching speeds of up to 70km/h. 

And you don't want to mess with one - their kicks are capable of killing a lion, or even a human. 

ALSO SEE: Pros and Cons of animal interactions: Oudtshoorn farmer ruffles feathers

The High-flying Cape Gannet

The Cape Gannet is an amazing flier, and plunges from insane heights into the sea to catch their meal. They hit the water at speeds between 40 – 120 km/h.

They only breed in South Africa and Namibia on islands close to the mainland, and the biggest colony is on Malgas Island in the Eastern Cape. Unfortunately, their numbers have been declining in our neighbouring country.

Got any of your own animal videos? Sent to us!

What to read next on Traveller24:

SA's newest eco-label to see expansion of Green Coast 

National Marine Week: Celebrating SA’s ocean life 

'Thank you for making Africa beautiful' - Tusk Conservation Awards