Animals in Tanzania

Animals in Tanzania
There are more than 4 million animals living in the wild in Tanzania, from more than 430 species, according to Lonely Planet. There are more than 1,000 species of birds, 60,000 species of insects and 100 species of snakes. In short, Tanzania is the place to see a wide array of wild animals in their natural habitat.

Lions

Lions live together in prides of 20 or more. Typically, there are 12 or more lionesses and three or four male lions. The cubs stay with their mothers until maturity, when the males go off to find their own pride.

Males are distinct from females with their long, shaggy manes. Their job is to defend the pride from predators. The females do most of the hunting and work together in groups to track and hunt antelopes, gazelles and zebras.

Lions can be as large as 6 1/2 feet long and weigh as much as 420 pounds. They are a threatened species.

Hyenas

Hyenas are the scavengers of the savannah. They love to hang around on the fringes of the lions' kills, then come in and eat whatever is left after the pride of lions leaves. They also work together as packs to hunt wildebeest or antelope. Hyenas usually zone in on a sick or weak animal in a herd and then work together to bring it down.

Hyenas live up to 25 years in the wild and can weigh as much as 190 pounds.

Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees live in communities that contain dozens of animals and are very social. They actually use tools to make their nests or dig grubs, or to smash open nuts. Chimps contain 89 percent of the human genetic blueprint and are intelligent enough to learn sign language.

In the wilds of Tanzania, chimpanzees eat mainly fruit and plants but can also eat meat. The species is endangered because of hunting. In the wild, chimpanzees live up to 45 years and are, on average, the same size as a small human: between 4 and 5 feet tall and weighing up to 130 pounds.

African Elephants

The largest land animal on the planet is the African elephant. It can reach 14,000 pounds and grow as tall as 13 feet at the shoulder. African elephants are herbivores and spend much of their day eating up to 300 pounds of grasses, roots, fruit and bark.

Female elephants live in herds with their babies. The gestation period is the longest among mammals: 22 months. At birth, the elephant calf weighs about 200 pounds and is about 3 feet tall. Bull elephants live a solitary life, mingling with other elephants only during mating season.

Elephants are a threatened species and are often poached for their ivory tusks.

Zebras

Zebras live together on the plains of Tanzania in herds of thousands. Smaller family units exist inside these large herds and consist of one male, a few females and their colts.

The distinctive stripes of a zebra's coat are unique; no two animals have exactly the same pattern. The stripes might help them evade predators. Zebras eat grasses and plants, and they are one of the main food sources for lions and hyenas.

Zebras live up to 25 years in the wild. They can be as tall as 5 feet at the shoulder and weigh as much as 990 pounds.

Article Written By Cate Rushton

Cate Rushton has been a freelance writer since 1999, specializing in wildlife and outdoor activities. Her published works also cover relationships, gardening and travel on various websites. Rushton holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Utah.

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