Thursday, May 03, 2012

Ruminants, and other four-legged creatures

One of the larger ruminants (and I think part of the 'Big Five' game animals) is the buffalo. I kept wanting to call it a water buffalo, but our guide assured us those lived in SE Asia. This may be a cape buffalo, or just a buffalo. Mungweru (our guide) said these are the most dangerous animal around because they are the only ones that kill for fun. Kill humans for fun, that is.  Yikes!

These loungers were at Lake Nakuru.

Cattle on 1000 hills...or 1000 cattle on a hill? Anyway, this large herd was in the Masai Mara.

Not really a wild animal, but I had to get at least one shot of the donkeys! Most places we drove, you could always see cows, goats, sheep, or donkeys on the side of the road. Sometimes the donkeys were grazing, other times they were working, like this. It seems there are three levels of transportation: carry it yourself, get a donkey to carry it, or get a truck to carry it.

This beauty is a Grant's gazelle.

Which makes these Thompson's gazelles. They look very similar excpet there is more white on the bum of the Grant.

This one is hiding his bum, but I think he's a Thompson. The white things are flowers that were all over the place. I forgot to get a photo of them. They were funny because they were kind of randomly scattered here and there.

These lovely ladies are impalas. The impala society has one buck with lots of women, his harem I guess. As young males grow up, they go off to join the herd of bachelors. At some point, an older male will challenge the leader of some group. If he wins he takes over and the loser goes off alone, probably to die because if he loses it means he's probably getting old and weak.

Is this impala winking at us?

This is an impala training ground, according to our guide. The mothers are teaching the children how to run for their lives. They would all be standing still, then suddenly a mother would start and jump after the little ones and they would all bound away. It was kind of cute - but serious too I guess.

More non-wild animals. This is some of the cow herds of the Masai people. More and more of these as we approached our camp in the middle of nowhere just outside the park. It kind of felt like we were surrounded by cows; I could hear their bells tinkling morning and night.

Monkeys! Not sure what kind this is, but we saw them only once, at the gates to Lake Nakuru. The momma monkey got a little frisky and jumped up on one of my friends, trying to get into her bag I think. We had all been warned about these mischevious guys and kept a tight hold on our bags and cameras.

Here we have Topi on the left and Heartbeast on the right. I think this is about the best shot I got of the Heartbeast. Too bad! You can tell the difference because the heartbeast horns curve up and resemble a heart.

The topi are very interesting looking creatures.

This is the one and only shot of warthogs I have. I think we saw them another time or two, but we just didn't get close enough to get a better shot. Our guide actually referred to these as "pumba" from the Lion King. But pumba is not the swahili, or any other word I guess, for warthog. It's something else entirely. But the Lion King was so popular and well know, pumba became a well known, and I guess accepted, nickname for the warthog. (We did go through several rounds, or attempted rounds, of Hakuna Matata and Circle of Life on this trip!)

Zebra and wildebeest!

Wildebeest somehow make me think of greasy-haired teenagers. All that long stringy looking hair.

Zebras! At Lake Naivasha.

Baby zebra!  I have a couple shots of this baby taking a drink from mama too. So cute!

Zebras from our last morning on safari. The sun was just coming up and the light was amazing. I wish I'd taken more pictures with that great light, but my battery was dying!

We were in the Masai Mara park for 10 hours on Friday and by the end one camera had totally died (not sure what happened to it), a few batteries had died, and at least one memory card had been filled up. You can imagine how many pictures and videos we took!
I admit, I am saving the best for last. Lions and elephants are still to come. =)

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