Say what?

Having a whale of a time

The blue whale’s sounds have been detected as far away as 850 km.

Source: Van Lill, Dawid (2008) African Wildlife Trivia, Kaapstad: Random House Struik

Reach for the sky

Giraffe plane

The giraffe – which is about 1,8 m tall at birth – is the tallest land mammal, with a height of up to 5,8 m.

Putting this into perspective: this is almost as high as a two-storey building!

Source: Van Lill, Dawid (2008) African Wildlife Trivia, Kaapstad: Random House Struik

Zebra scare

Zebra scare

Sounding off

Blue whale jumping

The blue whale generates low-frequency pulses to communicate with other whales, and these pulses have been measured at volumes of up to 188 decibels – the loudest sound emitted by any living being.

To put this into perspective: a passenger jet taking off generates about 120 decibels.

Source: Van Lill, Dawid (2008) African Wildlife Trivia, Kaapstad: Random House Struik

Ostrich scare

Ostrich scare

Bite me!

Lion yawning
Photo credit: Barbara Motter, National Geographic

A human can exert 55 kg pressure when biting down, whereas a lion bites down with a pressure of 318 kg.

The unique zebra

Oxpecker and zebra
Photo credit – Magnus J. K. Elmgren

Every zebra has a unique pattern of black and white stripes – as unique as a human’s fingerprint.

Zebras have both day and night vision. These animals sleep standing up.

Fun elephant fact

Elephant (black and white photo)

Apart from its tusks, an elephant has 24 other teeth – of which only four will be in its mouth at a time.

These teeth are up to 30 cm long (that’s as long as a normal school ruler!) and 10 cm wide – and each weighs 4 kg.

Source: Van Lill, Dawid (2008) African Wildlife Trivia, Kaapstad: Random House Struik

Having a (blue) whale of a time

Having a whale of a time

Blue whales are the largest animals ever known to have lived on earth. These magnificent marine mammals rule the oceans at up to 100 feet (30 meters) long and upwards of 200 tons (181 metric tons).

Putting this into perspective – 30 meters is the approximate height of a 10-storey building.

Their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant!

Blue whales are omnivores. The use baleen to filter out any and all microscopic planktonic organisms. Plankton include larval invertebrates (crabs, shrimp, molluscs, etc.), true planktonic invertebrates (copepods, nematomorphs, mysids, etc.) and phytoplanktonic organisms (coccolithophores, diatoms, dinoflagellates, etc.). Blue whales don’t discriminate when they filter to feed.

Afrikaanse idioom – die kat aan die stert beethê

Kat aan die stert beet

“Jy het die kat aan die stert beet” means “you are mistaken”.