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The Biology of African Savannahs, 2nd Edn$
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Bryan Shorrocks and William Bates

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198702702

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198702702.001.0001

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The Animals

The Animals

(p.65) 3 The Animals
The Biology of African Savannahs, 2nd Edn

Bryan Shorrocks

William (Bill) Bates

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, 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.

Keywords:   mammals, distribution maps, breeding, diet, conservation status

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