Photo: Steve Hirst

New puff adder behaviour uncovered: it uses two ways to entice its prey

Puff adders display diverse predatory strategies. This shows they have higher cognitive abilities than previously though. This is according to University of the Witwatersrand researchers Xavier Glaudas and Graham Alexander, via The Conversation Africa. Predators use a variety of strategies to increase the odds of capturing prey. An amazing example involves the use of luring behaviours, which are…

Scientists say that there are four genetically distinct giraffe species. Photo: Engela Duvenage

A rethink about giraffes

If you thought that all giraffes were created equal, think again. Yes, based on their looks they all seem pretty much the same, but their genes tell a totally different story. The ones you’ll see in the Kruger National Park or elsewhere in South Africa are genetically very different from the ones in Ethiopia and…

African striped mouse. Photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:C.R.Selvakumar

In tough times young mice take things slow

When the going gets tough, the young slow down and the old keep going. That’s what happens to African striped mice (Rhabdomys pumilio) in times of drought, according to researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand. Their findings are published in the journal Ethology. These highlight the influence of different seasons and the use of…

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Coconuts can give nesting terns the edge

When it comes to the breeding success of common white terns, “artificial” seems to be better than “natural”. This is the results from a study conducted by researchers from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and colleagues in the Seychelles. Their findings about how well hollowed out coconut husks work as nests are published in African Journal…

An African lesser bushbaby (Galago moholi). Photo credit:   Wikimedia

City living = stress for African lesser bushbabies

Mostly a loner, the African lesser bushbaby feeds on insects, supplementing its diet with sugar-rich gum of the acacia tree, as well as fruits. When urbanised, the availability of sugar-rich food sources, such as yogurt, catfood and bread, drives the lesser bushbaby to abandon its solitary lifestyle. As a result, the fight for food at…

African crowned eagle. Source: Wikimedia

What’s on KZN’s crowned eagles’ menu?

  This one’s for bird lovers, especially those who spend their time watching the feathered inhabitants of KwaZulu-Natal. A new study in the Ostrich journal sheds light on exactly what African crowned eagles in the province eat. Remains of 195 collected items of prey were collected from 17 nest sites. Rock hyrax (Procavia capensis), vervet…

A loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta). Credit: Wikimedia

Plastics are the death of sea turtles – @Scibraai Monday Menu

Pieces of plastic floating in our oceans are creating an often life-threatening problem for our sea life. Of the 40 loggerhead turtles that died after being stranded along the southern Cape coastline in one month alone, 24 (60%) had ingested debris such as plastics, fibres and pieces of packaging material. In an article in Marine…