With a world the size of ours, the chances are that there are bound to be a few surprising and even downright bizarre creatures that call it home. Africa is a unique continent with over 3000 languages and an incredible diverse range of landscapes that play host to an equally diverse range of wildlife. Due to its diversity, Africa as a travel destination can certainly provide safari-goers with sightings of some seriously strange animals. If you’re not entirely convinced, we invite you to take a look at our list of six of the strange animals that you can encounter while on an African safari.
The Elephant Shrew
Pretty much considered a rodent by all who’ve seen it, the Elephant Shrew gets its name from it’s long trunk-like nose. Aside from this noticeably impressive facial feature, the Shrews also feature long legs that are disproportionate to the size of their body. To move around, they hope like a rabbit and can travel very quickly. Surviving off a diet of insects, invertebrates and fruits, the Elephant Shrew can generally be found anywhere in Africa due to its ability to adapt.
Looking like some sort of weird PhotoShop experiment, the Gerenuk can basically be described as the tallest antelope around. However, the strangeness of its appearance comes entirely from the fact that its long neck adds so much height to this graceful gazelle. Living mainly in woodland and deserts, the Gerenuk has adapted an incredibly special talent that makes it quite remarkable amongst its own kind – it’s capable of living without water for impressively extended periods of time. It gets this talent from the fact that its body is able to hydrate itself from the leaves and flowers that make up the Gerenuk’s diet and satisfy their need for water.
Calling the island of Madagascar its home, the Aye Aye boasts strikingly large eyes and ears that makes it quite a sight to behold. Living in woodland and bush, the Aye Aye uses long claws to dig insect larvae from the trees. Sadly, folklore has lead locals to believe that a sighting of an Aye Aye is a bad omen, which has lead to many of them being killed. However, as weird as it may look, we still think the Aye Aye is wonderful and hope that education through information can help change this negative viewpoint.
Threatened to the point of extinction, there are only a handful of Pangolins left in the world. Small, brown animals, the body of the Pangolin comprises of scales that are made from the same substance as human’s hair and nails – keratin. When threatened, the Pangolin will roll into a ball shape in an effort to protect itself. Living off insects, these little animals are nocturnal meaning that anyone who is lucky enough to see them, had best cherish the experience.
The African Civet
Living in the forest of central and southern Africa, the Civet is often only found in places that are near to water. Capable of swimming very well, the Civet is also nocturnal and has sometimes been mistaken for similarly-spotted animals like the Hyena. While spots may not sound so strange, it’s the long body and short legs of the Civet that make it a sight to behold. If you’re on a night safari, keep your eyes open for an African Civet, which will prove not only an entertaining, but a fascinating addition to your (hopefully) long list of animal sightings.