African Adventure at the Zoo

The Dallas Zoo has an entire section dedicated to the variety of animals found in Africa...

Including the African elephant, the largest land dwelling mammal.  These  sweet, social giants use their ears like fans to help beat the African heat.  The African elephant can be distinguished from Asian elephants by their size and their larger ears.
The Zoo also has zebras, Grant's zebras, to be more specific.  Each zebra's stripes are unique, like a fingerprint, though the purpose of those stripes has long been a point of contention.  A study published earlier this year seems to disprove the popular theory that they serve as camouflage.
Africa even has its own penguin, the African penguin.  These black and white darlings are covered in small feathers which enable them to glide smoothly through the water.  They live in large colonies and mate for life.
The Zoo also has cheetahs.  Now, I'm sure you know that cheetahs are the fastest land mammal, but did you know that they can reach speeds that would get them speeding tickets on many highways?  62 miles per hour!  Cheetahs are predominantly solitary creatures, though sometimes males will live as small groups of two to three brothers.
Africa is home to the largest (elephants), the fastest (cheetah), and the tallest (giraffe) land dwelling mammals.  Giraffes live in herds and the Reticulated giraffe, like those found at the Dallas Zoo, are native to Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya.  When born a baby giraffe can be six feet tall!
And we couldn't talk about the Dallas Zoo's African animals without talking about the lion.  Lions are more social than many large cat species and live in groups called prides.  Prides are a matriarchal social group generally consisting of several females, their cubs, and a few males.  The lionesses do the majority of the hunting for the pride.
And that is the end of my fantastic, tiring trip to the Zoo.  When's the last time you checked out your zoo?

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