11 November 2006

beautiful creatures

Here is a list of the animals we saw in the wild. Click on the links provided to see boyfriend of feitpingvin's pictures of these animals from his flickr site, or else to read some interesting supplementary information about these animals on Wikipedia or other sites.

This list does not include birds. The birds are in a separate post...

  • berg adder (Bitis atropos)
    We are quite certain it's a berg adder. I sort of disturbed it while it was sunbathing on one of the many trails at Table Mountain. It hissed and slithered off, but boyfriend of feitpingvin was able to get a picture of it (see first link if you haven't already done so). Eventually, I found out what would have happened had one of us gotten bitten. Um, nice...

  • various lizards
    Lizards were all over the place, in particular agamas and black zonures. They like to sunbathe on the rocks, and they don't really like being disturbed. But they're so cute! ;-)

  • tortoises
    This one almost became a splat – we were going to stop to get a closer look at some bontebok, and boyfriend of feitpingvin thought it was a rock at first but suddenly stopped... "is that a tortoise?" Indeed! And it was so small and cute and... confused...

    At Cape Agulhas, there were even warning signs about tortoises, warning drivers not to drive over them...

  • springbok
    Springbok is Afrikaans for succulent steak. OK, maybe not, but the steaks are succulent... :-)

  • bontebok
    We saw them at Booi se Skerm. Bontebok are a threatened species of antelope and consequently illegal to kill, for food or otherwise. So no bontebok steaks for us... :-P

  • southern right whales
    September/October is the peak of whale watching season. We were driving along our way to Boulders Beach and Cape Point when we saw all these cars stopped along the side of the road, and people were looking out into the sea... whales! Lots of whales, blowing water from their blowholes and hopping up into the air and waving their tails... so we had to stop too. You could even hear the whales making noise. A German couple we were standing next to told us we had missed the drama of the previous day – a whale had given birth, and moments after the birth, a great white shark came along and ate the calf!!

    The whale-watching viewpoint near Rooikrans at Cape Point is another good place to watch whales. The ones we saw there were only swimming along; no jumping or tail waving or anything like that...

  • Cape hyraxes (dassies)
    Dassies, or rock rabbits (link to Wikipedia site), look like big rodents or rabbits, but they're actually related to elephants!

  • baboons
    There's a lot to be said about the baboons, so I think I'll give them their own post... please stay tuned...

  • Cape fur seals. We saw these seals sleeping peacefully on the sunny docks, after our Robben Island tour...

  • tourists with cameras
    Not sure if they fall into the "beautiful" category though ;-P

  • unidentified frogs

  • unidentified furry animal with a tail (rodent-like)

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