ANIMALS EATING

Warthogs are omnivores whose diet includes roots, berries, bark, bulbs, grass and a variety of plants. Their rounded cartilage snout is hardened on the upper side so that it can act as a kind of shovel to dig up bulbs from under the ground – as this one is doing:

Elephants on the other hand often break branches in order to gain access to the leaves, roots and nutrients in the tree:

Although kudu are well known as browsers, they also eat a variety of fruit, pods, forbs and creepers as well as succulents such as spekboom and aloes. This one is taking advantage of the many forbs that have grown after a long period without rain:

Red Hartebeest are predominantly grazers. While they usually prefer medium-height grass, they also tuck into the fresh re-growth of grass growing after rain:

Like the warthogs, bushpigs are omnivorous. Apart from insects and carrion, they also eat fruit, roots, bulbs and forbs:

We tend to think of zebras being predominantly grazers, yet they also include shrubs, bark, twigs, leaves and herbs in their diet:

WATER IS LIFE

South Africans are no strangers to drought and so we can empathise with the extremely dry conditions being experienced in parts of Europe. Some spring rains have arrived here – the hope is always for more! We all need water to survive and so I share some pictures of various creatures taking a much needed drink in the Addo Elephant National Park. The first are vervet monkeys enjoying a drink from puddles in the road:

This elephant was slaking its thirst at the Marion Baree water hole:

The Woodlands water hole is where these zebra gathered for their drink:

On a different occasion a single warthog visited the same water hole:

Ring-necked doves took deep draughts of water at Carol’s Rest water hole:

This was before they were ousted by a red hartebeest:

IS A ZEBRA ALL STRIPES?

Of course we all know what a zebra looks like. At least we think we know what a zebra looks like: they have stripes. Do they? Look at these zebras:

You can recognise the zebra on the left and the zebra on the right. Now, what about the middle one?

Now the ‘middle one’ is on the left.

This zebra with very few stripes was the only one of its kind among a fairly large herd of zebra seen grazing not far from the Alicedale road.

ZEBRAS EATING

My first thought was to show you a few different zebras grazing on what looks like very dry grass to greener grass. Putting these photographs together, however, provides a marvellous opportunity to showcase just how different the facial markings between zebras can be.

This zebra has bold facial markings – and a dusty nose!

Note the very fine lines on this one – which also has a dusty nose.

The facial markings on this one are very bold – more stereotypical of the way zebras are depicted in children’s books.

This zebra has firm, clear lines – and much greener grass to eat!

THIRSTY ZEBRAS

It is a week now that we have had to make do without water in our taps at home – the pump repairs, pipe repairs and whatever else may have gone wrong are supposed to be completed by Sunday. Perhaps this is why I am drawn to photographs of animals quenching their thirst in the Addo Elephant National Park. This time it is a herd of zebras.

Look at them, head down to slake their thirst at a waterhole. Drinking is clearly their main purpose for congregating here and judging by their focused actions, they must have been very thirsty.

Only a couple are left out, possibly they are keeping a look out on behalf of the others. There hardly seems to be space to fit in another zebra here.

This warthog didn’t think so either and settled down for a light doze in the sun until it too could get a turn to drink at the water hole.