Serengeti, which is located in Northern Tanzania, is home to all kinds of wild animals ranging from the big five animals, other big cats, ungulates, birds and also small cats. Read on as we delve into these groups of animals.
The Big 5 Game
Serengeti is home to the big five animals which are the buffalo, lion, rhino, leopard and elephant. These animals are referred to as the big five since they are considered to be the most difficult to hunt. The leopards are hard to see roaming around in the park since they are quite timid. They are easily seen in the forests up in trees. At other times, the leopards move very low in the grass especially when hunting.
Lions are prevalent in the Serengeti hence it’s easy to see them mostly in Seronera. Climbing lions have also become familiar in the Serengeti. Do not be surprised if you see lions up in Acacia trees. Due to the large size of the elephants, it makes it easy to see them in the park, especially around the swampy areas where they go to cool themselves. Elephants mostly move about in herds to ensure their security.
Of all the big five animals, the buffalo is the most common of them all. They can be seen anywhere in the park in groupings of even 100. Others are usually alone and are dangerous. Rhinos in the park are few and it can be hard to see them. During the day, they normally rest and are very energetic at night. The best time to see them is the rainy season since there are also not many activities going on in the park.
Other Big Cats
Apart from the lion and the leopard, other big cats include the cheetah and the hyena. Of all the animals in the world, the cheetah is accredited as the fastest of them all. However, despite this greatness, it is also very timid which makes it to be automatically locked out of the big five animals.
A cheetah can hunt and then be easily scared away by either a lion or even a hyena leaving the prey behind. You will mostly see the cheetahs being alone although you can spot some groups of twos and threes. This makes them very endangered. Although the hyenas have the appearance of a dog they are most related to cats. Hyenas are mostly known for being timid and scavengers. However, most of their food comes from their hunting efforts.
Ungulates refer to animals which have hooves. Most of the Ungulates in Serengeti, some of which are gazelles, zebras and giraffes, are graders. They, therefore, depend on vegetation distribution for their survival. These animals are also prey to the carnivorous animals here which also influences their population.
The ungulates are mostly seen in groups since in the groups they are easily able to overcome the enemy attacking. They can easily be spotted in the park especially due to their large size like the giraffes. For others like the antelope, the body fur can camouflage in the grass therefore at times it can be hard to see them. Also depending on the vegetation distribution in the area, influences their population.
The competition for food by the animals can make some animals grow weaker and weaker by the day and eventually perish. The wildebeests in the region cross the Mara River to the other side when the vegetation becomes scarce. This migration attracts a lot of tourists.
If you want to have an experience of seeing the various species of birds we have in the world then Serengeti is the place to be. The Serengeti plays host to over 500 species of bird. Some of these birds are endemic and therefore they can only be spotted in Serengeti and nowhere else in the world such as the Usambiro barbet and the gray-crested helmet-shrike. The birds are mostly seen in the woodland region and near the swampy areas of the park.
You will find it difficult to see any birds in the grassland areas. To see some of these birds clearly since they can be quite small, a tourist is recommended to carry binoculars. There are times of the year considered the best for watching the birds. This is from November to April. At this time, the birds which have migrated from Europe and North Africa are here.
One will therefore, be able to see many more birds. For the birds which stay here permanently, this is their breeding season. It becomes easy to observe them as they are in their nest and not roaming around. The time between June and October is considered the dry season as not many birds can be seen. However, this is the most appropriate time for seeing wildlife.
Whereas there are big cats, there are also small cats. Some of the small cats in the Serengeti are Caracal, Serval and Wildcat. The small cats face a daily danger of being hunted down by the big cats which view them as a rival and threats to them. The Caracal is the biggest of the three birds with about 10 kg weight. Its great strength gives it the ability to hunt even larger animals than it, such as the antelope. Their back legs are stronger than the front legs which enables it to jump in the air and catch a flying bird.
The Serval can be spotted easily while on safari in Africa. They have a weight of between six and thirteen kilograms with the males being larger than females. They have very sharp ears which enables them to spot prey easily. Using their malleable limbs they can take fish or even amphibians from the water.
The wildcat is more like the domestic cat that we know of which has gray to red spots. Their sharp eyesight and hearing sense enables them to identify prey easily. They lie very close to the ground and move slowly towards the prey before suddenly pouncing on it. These small cats are mostly active at night.