Write Your Own Guidebook!
The African Baobab tree is home to numerous animals that depend on this amazing tree for shelter and food. Some of these animals are listed below. These creatures also live in places other than a baobab tree.
Use the following phrases to write short information pieces for the animals given. Pretend that you are writing for a friend who has never seen or heard about these animals. You want to give the reader a clear picture of what the animal looks like and how it lives. Make your writing very descriptive. If there is a word you do not know, use a dictionary to find out its meaning.
|FRUIT BAT (Pteropus livingstonii)
Large bat. Wingspan of up to 6 feet. Very long webbed fingers serve as wings. Covered by thin skin. Five-toed feet. Red eyes. Shiny black ears. Golden spots on brown fur.
Dense forests in Africa.
A nocturnal, flying mammal. Rest upside-down by feet
during the day. Have weak legs. Dont walk very well.
Live in huge colonies called camps. One male lives with
eight females. Eat fruit juice and fruit nectar. Chew
fruit and spit out seeds. Vital for pollination and spreading
seeds. Good sense of smell.
Cant land very well. Stops by crash-landing
into bushes. Disturbs other bats. Causes noisy fights.
Threats to survival: loss of habitat, storms and hunting.
Largest type of monkey. Grow to about 35 inches long.
Weigh 30 to 100 pounds. Large, muscular body. Brown to
silvery fur. Face and buttocks can be hairless or brightly
colored. Rounded ears. Eyes close together under brow.
Long hairless snout. Have a dog like face with cheek pouches.
Long arms and legs. Arms have five-fingered hands. Legs
have five-toed grasping feet. Males have large, pointed
Savannahs, open woods, grasslands, rocky areas and
dry areas in Africa.
Noisy. Ferocious. Intelligent. Lives on ground in
troops. Troup size varies from a few to thousands. Omnivores.
Grasses, roots, insects, small mammals and snakes. Hunted
by leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, people.
Bark loudly and bare teeth when threatened.
-TAILED MEALYBUG (Pseudococcus longispinus)
Very small. 1/6 to 1/4 inch in length. White and waxy.
Oval shaped. Little black "hairs" stick out
all over. Has one "tail" that is equal to body
Outdoors in the warmer parts of Africa and throughout
hosts. Live off plants. Begonia, orchids, pineapples,
potato, sugar cane, African baobab. Lots others. Have
pierce-sucking mouthparts. Insert into plant and suck
sap. Damages plants. Don't produce an egg sack. Eggs hatch
as soon as they are laid.
Species cannot be identified outside a lab setting.
ROLLER (Coracias caudate)
14 inches. Green head. Lilac throat and breast. Azure
blue abdomen. Brown back. Whitish forehead and brow. Blue
tail has outer two feathers. Long and pointed. Sexes are
Widespread in eastern and southern Africa. Found in
open scrub and woodland.
Perch solo or in pairs. Noisy. Aggressive. Territorial.
Eat insects and small vertebrates. Take prey from ground.
Lay 2-3 eggs. Nest in cavities in dead trees and termite
mounds. Eggs incubated by both sexes for 22-24 days. Has
loud, harsh squawk. "Zaaak, Zaaak."
Preys on animals fleeing from bush fires. Swoops up
prey and returns to tree. Batter prey before eating it
|DIK-DIK (Madoqua kirkii)
Dwarf antelope. Length is 1.8 2.1 feet. Height is 14-16 inches. Weight is 8.1 to 12.1 pounds. Soft, yellowish-gray to reddish-brown hide on top. Gray flanks and legs. Whitish-gray coat below. Skinny legs. Males have short horns. Extended snout.
Live in dry, heavily forested areas of East-Central Africa.
Feed on leaves, shoots and fruits. Will stand on back legs to reach high foods. Need large amounts of salt. Can go for months without water. Mark territory with dung. Live in pairs. Stay together their entire lives. More active at night. Gestation period of 5 months. One baby born at a time. Baby stays hidden. Mother calls baby out when it is time to nurse. Full-grown at 7 months. Life span of 10 years.
Named from the sound it makes when alarmed "dik-dik."
Hides used for making gloves. Hunters think they are pesky.
Warns other animals.
|BUFFALO WEAVER (Dimenellia dinemelli)
8 inches in length. White head and neck. Rest of body is brown and white. Red tail coverts. Dark brown tail, beak and feet.
Eastern Africa, primarily Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. Found in dry savannah, thorn scrub and acacia woodland.
Eat seeds of grasses and shrubs, small insects, worms and fruits. Forages on ground. Nests in colonies. Nests of grass stalks and plants. Found high in trees in a fork of branches. Has tubular entrance on the bottom. Line with fine grasses and feathers. Both sexes work on nest. Lay 2-5 eggs with dark brown spots. Incubation period of 14 days. Fledge (leave nest) in 3 weeks.
Hang up-side down.
|WALKING STICK (Phasmatidae)
Extremely long-bodied. Green, gray, or brown bodies.
Most are wingless. Long antennae. Less than an inch to
over 1 foot in length. Resemble twigs or grass stems.
Mostly tropical and temperate rainforests. Also found in temperate regions of Europe and North America.
Very slow moving. Herbivores: leaves and some berries. Use a stinky spray for self-defense. Nocturnal. Cannot fly, only walks. Females drop eggs to ground. Hatch two winters later.
Arms and legs grow back when lost. Sheds skin. Excellent
camouflage. Some have sharp spines, which resemble thorns.
Possibly longest insects in the world.
|PRAYING MANTIS (Stagmomantis)
2/5-12 inches in length. Colors vary: light greens to pinks. Long body. Triangular-shaped head. Large compound eye on each side. Straight forewings. Strong, spiny legs held together in praying fashion.
Live in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate areas throughout the world.
Carnivorous insects and other invertebrates such as spiders, crickets, grasshoppers. Eats vertebrates such as small tree frogs, lizards, mice and hummingbirds. Is motionless while waiting for prey. Bites the neck and paralyses it. Females lay eggs in the autumn. Lay eggs in "ootheca," a frothy liquid that turns into a hard, protective covering. Eggs hatch in spring. Camouflage is crucial to their survival. Have many enemies.
Only insect that can pivot head from side to side
in a full 180-degree angle. Eyes can pick up movement
60 feet away.