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Is it an Easter bunny? No! It’s an Easter hare!

Happy Mad Mammal er…Tuesday! Okay, so the Easter egg feasting got the better of me which is why this week’s Mad Mammal post is a day late. But better late than never! In keeping with the Easter theme, this week we feature an Easter Bunny of sorts. Okay, so it’s not exactly a bunny. In [...]

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The naked mole-rat

I know it’s Monday, but at least when you looked in the mirror this morning you didn’t look like a naked mole-rat! The naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber) also known as the ‘Desert mole-rat’ and the ‘Sand puppy’, is one interesting looking mammal. They are rodents that have no fur (although are not completely hairless), are [...]

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Gold in the Dunes

Happy Mad Mammal Monday! Most days we go big, but today we go small. And blind. And underground. Allow us to introduce to you Van Zyl’s golden mole (Cryptochloris zyli)! Van Zyl’s golden mole is found only (i.e. endemic) in the Western Cape of South Africa (Mills and Hex, 1997; Bronner, 2008). This very rare [...]

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Japan ordered to stop whaling in Antarctic

Great news was announced this week (first week of April 2014) when the UN’s International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s permit to whale for “scientific purposes” in the Antarctic was to be revoked. Australia took Japan to the UN’s International Court of Justice 4 years ago in an attempt to stop Japan from whaling in the [...]

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Function of zebra stripes demystified

An article, published in the journal Nature in April 2014 by UC Davis scientists, takes a look at the functional role of zebra stripes. “Why zebras have black and white stripes is a question that has intrigued scientists and spectators for centuries. A research team led by the University of California, Davis, has now examined [...]

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The Cape fur seal

The Cape fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus) is the only indigenous seal species that grace the southern Africa coastline, with breeding colonies scattered from Port Elizabeth on the southeast coast of South Africa to Cape Cross on the northeast coast of Namibia (Mills and Hes, 1997). Between the 17th and 19th centuries, this species was massively [...]

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Heaviside’s Dolphin

Lest we forget: Dolphins are mammals too. There are myriad spectacular and interesting creatures that inhabit the oceans surrounding the South African coastline. Amongst these are the Cetaceans: a group comprised of whales, dolphins and porpoises of which 46 frequent or call South African waters (including the Prince Edward Islands) their home. Heaviside’s dolphins (Cephalorhynchus [...]

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The Giant Forest Hog (feast your eyes on these bad boys)

The largest of the wild pig species in the world, the giant forest hog (Hylochoerus meinertzhangeni) inhabits dense forested areas and open savannahs of western and central Africa, native to several countries including (but not limited to) Cameroon, Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan. However, distribution can best be described as patchy due to deforestation and [...]

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The Handsome Sable Antelope

A truly good-looking member of the bovidae family is the sable antelope (Hippotragus niger). Mature males are a striking jet-black in colour, with long ridged horns curving towards their backs, ending in smooth sharp tips (Mills and Hess, 1997). Although slightly smaller than the closely related Roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus), they weigh in at an [...]

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The aardwolf: the better-looking cousin of the Hyaenidae family (sort of)

Out of the 4060 living mammal species, the aardwolf (Proteles cristatus) is one of 18 species that feed exclusively on termites (Anderson, 2004). However, the aardwolf is specifically adapted to this diet, sporting a large and hairless muzzle (an adaptation that prevents adhesion of the chemical secretions of the soldier termites), a broad tongue and [...]

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