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The Biology of African Savannahs$
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Bryan Shorrocks

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198570660

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198570660.001.0001

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The animals

The animals

(p.64) 3 The animals
The Biology of African Savannahs

Bryan Shorrocks

Oxford University Press

This chapter takes a brief look at the ecology and behaviour of the major mammals in the dynamics of the savannah ecosystem. Other animals (insects and birds) are mentioned briefly. First, the chapter examines the herbivores. This includes the migratory species of the Serengeti ecosystem (wildebeest, plains zebra and Thomson's gazelle) plus elephant, giraffe, hippopotamus, buffalo, Grant's gazelle, impala, hartebeest, topi (tiang & tsessebe), eland, rhinoceros, bushbuck, steenbok, oryx, gerenuk, dik dik, and kudu. Each species description includes details of size and weight, diet, behaviour, breeding, conservation status, and a distribution map. Biological topics that impinge upon diet and food selection, such as metabolism and body size, body size and mouth width, the contrast between ruminants and non-ruminants, are examined. Second, the chapter examines the major carnivores. These include lion, spotted hyaena, striped and brown hyaena, cheetah, leopard, wild dog, three jackals, foxes, and mongooses. Again diet, plus hunting techniques and territory characteristics and behaviour are briefly discussed, and a distribution map provided. Two savannah primates: baboons and vervet monkeys, are detailed.

Keywords:   mammals, distribution-maps, breeding, diet, conservation-status, carnivores, savannah primates

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