to the hyena in appearance but bushier. They are
nocturnal but can be seen during the day. They favour
open dry plains or light woodland where they feed on
insects. Some experts suggest the Aardwolf is related to
the hyena but through a changing diet over the
centuries, it has evolved into a family by itself. They
move about at night, hiding during the daytime in old
aardvark burrows in which they raise their young, usually
three to a litter, often in small communities of nursing
in appearance to a large tabby cat, they occur throughout
Zambia but are not often seen. They hunt at night,
preying on small mammals, birds, frogs and insects. Their
young are born in a hollow tree or burrow.
in marking to the zorilla, with the same white stripes
down its back and a thick white bushy tail but smaller,
more slender and sleeker,. They move in family groups or
in pairs, feeding on rodents and small birds.
Present throughout the country but very
rarely seen the caracal is a beautiful cinnamon coloured
member of the cat family. They prey on small mammals, and
birds, have a gestation of 10 weeks and live for as long
as 17 years. Few cats can imitate the caracals sudden
spring to pull down a bird in mid flight, sometimes as
high as three meters (10 feet), a remarkable feat for
such a small animal. The soft thick coat has no distinct
stripes but is clearly spotted on the underside and has a
shorter tail than any other African cat.
A long legged half dog-, half cat-like
creature with long course body hair and a vivid pattern
of black spots. Fairly common in all the wilderness
areas, often seen on night drives in the national parks.
During the day, they hide in thickets or holes and by
night are omnivorous feeders. They return to the same
place to defecate where they deposit
large piles of dung,
showing the remains of beetles, fruit and a wide range of
other food. They are in fact very important disperses of
fruit seeds. Their scent glands secrete a nauseating
smell used to mark their territory. They gestate for 6-9
weeks and live up to 14 years.
A small cat with short legs, pointed snout
and ringed tail. Genets are often seen at night in the
wilds. They live in trees where they breed, having 2-3
kittens per litter after a gestation period of 2 months
and eat birds, mice, snakes and fruit. Genets return to
the same place day after day, hunting mostly on the
ground. They spit and growl like cats when they are angry
or threatened. Their normal call is a clear metallic note
Genets vary in color from brownish-gray
to pale yellow or buff with dark brown or black spots that tend to be
large, elongated and arranged in rows along the soft-furred body. They
have a long tail ringed in black and white and a boldly patterned
face. Like many other animals, the habitat determines the variations
in color, with species in arid areas having lighter-colored coats than
those in forested areas
distinctive marking with a thick greyish white band from
its head to its tail, the tail often held in an upright
position. They are often in pairs and sometimes alone,
living partly in trees and found in most habitat types.
It preys on rodents and insects, but also eats fruits and
roots. The name honey badger is derived from
its supposed habit of following the Honeyguide bird to a
bees nest where it will feed on the honeycomb and grubs
after the hive has been opened up. Legend or not, they
are very fond of honey.
Related to the wolverine and martens,
as shown by the resemblance in teeth, the honey badger resembles in
fossorial form and perhaps in its fierce disposition the true badgers.
The honey badger has short legs and stout claws and is a strong
burrower and a good climber. About 2 ft (61 cm) long excluding the
tail, it has a coat that is black on the lower half of the body and
pale gray above. The honey badger resembles its distant relative the
skunk in coloration and in the possession of an anal scent gland. It
is nocturnal, feeds on rodents, reptiles, and insects, and has a thick
loose coat that protects it against snake bites and insect stings. The
honey badger collaborates with the
or indicator bird, in obtaining honey, a favorite food. The bird
searches for a bee colony, and when one is found, the honey badger
rips it open. The bird and the honey badger then share the honey.
Honey badgers travel singly or in pairs. The young, usually two, are
born in burrows. Honey badgers are classified in the phylum
subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family
species of mongoose occur in Zambia. The Banded mongoose
is the most conspicuous and is frequently seen actively
foraging around in parties of a dozen or more and when
disturbed scurry into termite mounds or other ground
refuge. The Slender mongoose on the other hand is
solitary and unmistakable with its upturned tufted tail.
Found in various woodland types, it preys on small
vertebrates and insects. The White tailed mongoose is a
large nocturnal animal often picked up with a spot light.
The Dwarf mongoose is the smallest in the mongoose family
and runs in troops of up to 15. They are found in
woodland near hollow trees, anthills or rocky outcrops.
A day in the life of a mongoose begins
about sunrise. The adults come out of the den and sun and groom
themselves and each other, while the young wrestle and play around
them. If the young are small, they stay at the nest site with a
babysitter, but if large enough to keep up with the pack, they all
move off with the adults to forage for food. During the heat of the
day the pack often returns to the den to rest. They forage again in
the afternoon, and sun and groom themselves before returning to the
den for the night.
Mongooses have keen eyesight and keep
watch for potential predators and rival packs from the tops of termite
mounds. They attack those that get too close or take the young
mongooses to safety inside a termite mound. Even with such care the
mortality rate is high for juveniles, but considering their small size
and the large number of potential predators, dwarf mongooses have a
remarkably long life span.
fairly common in the bigger parks, they are rarely seen.
Looking like a large domestic cat with a spotted coat and
a banded tail, the serval is a solitary animal breeding
in the winter months. Their gestation period is 2 months
, their young being born and reared in old anthill or
porcupine burrows. They prey on small mammals, fish,
roots, fruit, lizards and birds.
The serval is much larger than the
domestic cat. It is long-legged, the hind legs longer than the front
legs. Its neck is long and its head small, with large, erect ears.
The serval is mainly nocturnal, but
even in the daytime it can be difficult to see in tall grass. It hunts
by sight and sound more than scent. With its acute hearing, a serval
can locate prey that is moving underground. If hunting prey above
ground, the serval raises its head above the grass and listens for
movement. Once a sound is located, the serval stealthily approaches,
then leaps and pounces. It often plays with its catch before eating
Servals are prey of hyenas, hunting
dogs and leopards.
The Spotted Necked Otter is moderate to
small in size. Its head to body is 575 The tail is 330 to 445mm long.
The whole length of the Spotted Necked Otter is 950 to 1170mm.
The feet of the Spotted-necked Otter are
webbed, with the webbing ending close to the end of the toes, and
occasionally along the Kafue river, this small chestnut
brown creature moves in small family groups, occasionally
alone and usually at night. It preys on fish, crabs and
frogs. The Clawless Otter is found in the larger streams
and rivers of Kafue and Lochinvar and occasionally along
the Zambezi. It is larger than the spotted necked otter
and, as its name implies, it has no claws and its front
feet are not webbed.
The jackal, a medium-sized
carnivore with doglike features and a bushy tail, is widely
distributed in Africa, the Middle East and India. This animal has long
been the subject of superstition about death and evil spirits. The
ancient Egyptians believed a jackal-headed god, Anubis, guided the
dead to those who judged their souls. Such beliefs were probably
encouraged by the jackal's cleverness, nocturnal habits, eerie howling
Jackals live singly or in pairs, and
are sometimes found in small packs. They are among the few mammalian
species in which the male and female mate for life. Mated pairs are
territorial, and both the female and male mark and defend the
boundaries of their territory
Jackals can best be described as
opportunistic omnivores. They cooperatively hunt small or young
antelopes such as dikdiks or Thomson's gazelles or even domestic
sheep. They also eat snakes and other reptiles, insects,
ground-dwelling birds, fruits, berries and grass. A pair of jackals
will move through their territory at a fast trot, stopping frequently
to examine something, sniff the air or listen-ready for any opportunity that might provide a meal.
Leopards, hyenas and eagles are
jackals' most feared predators. Eagles are small pups biggest threat.
stripy zorilla has only been recorded in the Kafue
National Park and is a rare sighting, favouring dry open
country and light woodland, where it feeds on rodents,
insects and small birds.
The zorilla looks like a skunk, but it is actually an African polecat,
which is a different animal altogether.
It produces a foul-smelling substance in its anal glands, which it can
squirt out if it is threatened by predators or other dangers.
Obviously it is a nocturnal animal, and it feeds on rodents, eggs,
reptiles and insects. It spends the day resting in its burrow, which
would be found in the open country or savannah.