How many jackal species do we have in East Africa?

(Scroll down for Swahili version) If you have read my previous article about hyrax-elephant relationships (if you haven’t I’d suggest reading it now) you’ll know that studying DNA gives us a good picture of relationships between animals. It can sometimes give surprise us by telling us that animals that look […]

Do giraffe’s make a sound?

Je, twiga anatoa sauti? (Scroll down for Swahili) Most of us have never really heard a giraffe make sound. Maybe we have heard them grunt when fighting or heard a giraffe snort in alarm, but have you ever heard a giraffe make a sound? Giraffe faces don’t have that many […]

Is it better to be a rumminant?

Je, ni vyema kua mnyama-mcheuzi? There is no animal that can digest and get nutrients from plants by themselves because most of the nutrients are tied up as cellulose. Cellulose is a complex and fibrous carbohydrate found in the cell walls of plants. All animals that eat plants have bacteria […]

You asked the question: How do plants communicate?

Uliuliza swali: Je, mimea inawasilianaje? If you’ve read this article you’ll already know that plants are not just standing there. In a great book by Daniel Chamowitz called What A Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses, that author discusses the plant senses- sight, smell, touch, and hearing. In […]

A simple mutualism, not as simple as it sounds…

Uhusiano rahisi wa kutegemezana, sio rahisi inavyo sikika… We love talking about mutualisms in nature. If you’re not familiar with it, a mutualism is a relationship between two species that benefits both species. There are obligate mutualisms where the survival of one or both species is totally dependent on the […]

Acacias don’t just stand there being eaten.

Migunga haisimami kukubali kuliwa tu. Just because trees can’t move to escape from predation doesn’t mean they’re just standing there letting themselves be attacked. In fact, because plants have been around for so long, they’ve had a lot of time to evolve some very complex defense strategies. One of the […]

The elephant and the hyrax

Tembo na pimbi A common request I get during guide training is to explain the relationship between hyrax and elephants. It seems to be one of the go-to facts when guides see a hyrax- to say “that’s the elephant’s closest living relative” or something along those lines. In the past […]