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, including 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 and tsessebe), eland, rhinoceros, bushbuck, steenbok, oryx, gerenuk, dik-dik, and kudu. Each species description includes details of size and weight, diet, behaviour, breeding, and conservation status, as well as a distribution map. Biological topics that impinge upon diet and food selection, such as metabolism, body size, body size, and mouth width, and the contrast between ruminants and non-ruminants are examined. Second, the chapter examines the major carnivores including lion, spotted hyaena, striped and brown hyaena, cheetah, leopard, wild dog, jackals, foxes, and mongooses. Again diet, plus hunting techniques and territory characteristics and behaviour are briefly discussed and distribution maps are provided. Two savannah primates, baboons and vervet monkeys, are detailed.
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