Photography by Jim Zuckerman
Introduction and Further Reading ÂŠ2016 by Mr. Biddle Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. ISBN 978-1-5399-6385-1 (print format) Manufactured in the United States of America
This book is dedicated to all who help preserve our Wildlife Sanctuaries. With special thanks to Jim Zuckerman and Michael Travis.
frica is the second largest continent in the world. It is surrounded by several bodies of water including The Mediterranean Sea, The Red Sea, The Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. Africa is home to some of the most amazing wildlife in the world. Join Mr. Biddle as he introduces us to some of the most incredible and dangerous creatures on the planet.
Brown Fur Seals
Skeleton Coast, Namibia, Africa The brown fur seal is the largest seal in the world. Male fur seals can grow up to 7.5 ft (2.3 meters) and weigh up to 440 - 660 lb (200-300 kg). The female seals are smaller and average 5.9 ft. (1.8 meters) in length and weigh 420-620 lb (190-280 kg). Adult male brown fur seals are dark gray to brown, with a darker mane of short, course hairs and a light belly. The mature females are light brown to gray, with a light throat and darker back and belly. The foreflippers of the fur seal are dark brown to black. Pups are born black and molt to gray with a light throat within three to five months. The brown fur seal lives near the southern and southwestern coast of Africa. They spend most of the year at sea, but are never too far from land. The brown fur seal dives for itâ€™s food. Their diet is made up of 70% fish, 20% squid and 2% crab. The brown fur sealâ€™s main predator is the great white shark. They are also preyed upon by the orca or killer whale. The brown fur seal is a curious and friendly animal in the ocean. They will often swim and play with scuba divers. On land, they are far less relaxed and tend to panic when people come around them.
“Hello young pups. I’m quite curious... how long can you hold your breath underwater?”
“During a long swim, we can hold our breath for nearly two hours.”
“Ssshhh... let’s not wake him. Did you know that adult leopards can spend up to 20 hours a day sleeping?”
Leopard Sleeping in a Tree Samburu National Reserve, Kenya Most leopards are light colored and have dark spots on their fur. These spots are called ‘rosettes’ because their shape is similar to a rose. These big cats, like lions and tigers, tend to be nocturnal (active mainly at night). They venture out in search of food from dawn until dusk and spend their days mostly resting, camouflaged in the trees or hiding in caves. Leopards can run over 36 miles per hour, leap over 20 feet and jump 9 feet in the air. They produce a number of distinctive vocalizations, including grunts, roars, growls, meows and purrs. These big cats have a varied diet and enjoy different kinds of prey. They mainly eat bugs, fish, antelope, monkeys, rodents, deer, impala and wildebeests. Leopards are skilled and strong climbers. They can carry their heavy prey up into the trees so that scavengers such as hyenas, don’t steal their meal!
Giraffe Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya Giraffes are the world’s tallest mammals due to their towering legs and long necks. A giraffe’s legs alone are taller than many humans - about 6 feet (1.8 meters). These long legs allow giraffes to run as fast as 35 miles (56 kilometers) an hour over short distances and cruise comfortably at 10 miles (16 kilometers) an hour over longer distances. Giraffes use their height to enjoy feeding on leaves and buds in treetops that few other animals can reach. Even the giraffe’s tongue is long, measuring an amazing 21 inches (53 centimeters). They eat hundreds of pounds of leaves each week and must travel miles to find enough food. The giraffe’s height also helps to keep a sharp lookout for predators across the African plains. A giraffe’s height can be a disadvantage as well - it is difficult and dangerous for a giraffe to drink at a water hole. To do so, they spread their legs and bend down in an awkward position that makes them vulnerable to predators like Africa’s big cats. Giraffes only need to drink once every several days. They get most of their water from the luscious plants they eat. Female giraffes give birth standing up. Their young enter the world by falling more than five feet (165 meters) to the ground at birth. These infants can stand in half an hour and run with their mothers an incredible ten hours after birth.
“Good day to you my tall friend! Is it true that you have more than one stomach?”
“Why yes, I actually have four stomachs to assist with my digestion.”
“Good morning little one. Why is it that you only have four fingers and no thumb on each hand?”
“That is the way we are born. It actually helps us to travel along the top of tree branches.”
Colobus Monkey Southern Ethiopia The black and white colobus monkey lives most of itâ€™s life in the trees. They eat leaves, flowers, twigs and fruit. Leaves are low in nutritional value, so they must eat large quantities to survive. Colobus monkeys are born almost white. The older colobus are black with white hair framing their faces, running down their sides and covering the fluffy end of their tails. Colobus are known for their fluffy long tails. Their tails are one and one third as long as their head and body. Colobus are able to jump over 21 feet (6 meters) from tree to tree. A mother colobus leaping over twenty-five feet with a baby holding onto her chest is similar to a human jumping fifty feet from a standing position while carrying a twenty-five pound weight. The black and white colobus live in small groups usually with only one male. The groups have between three and fifteen members. Grinning or pulling the lip is a sign of aggression in colobus monkeys, along with yawning, head bobbing and jerking the head and shoulders forward. Colobus monkeys express affection and make peace with others by grooming each other.
Male African Lion
Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya
Living in the grasslands, scrub and open woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa, the lion is the second largest cat in the world. Unlike other cats, lions are very social animals. They live in groups called prides, which generally consist of up to three males, a dozen females and their young. The size of the pride is determined by the availability of food and water. If resources are scarce, the pride becomes smaller. Pride members keep track of one another by roaring. Both males and females have a powerful roar that can be heard up to five miles (8 km) away. Males and females take on very different roles in the pride. Male lions spend their time guarding their territory and their cubs. They maintain the boundaries of their territory, which can be as large as 100 square miles (260 sq. km) by roaring, marking it with urine, and chasing off intruders. Their thick manes, a unique trait to male lions, protect their necks when they fight with challengers. Lions usually hunt at night. Their prey includes antelopes, buffaloes, zebras, rhinos, hippos, wild hogs, crocodiles and giraffes. But they sometimes eat smaller prey like mice, birds, hares, lizards and tortoises. After a successful hunt, all the lions in the pride share the meal. But there is a pecking order, with the adult males taking first claim, followed by the lionesses, and finally, the cubs. Spending 16 to 20 hours of the day sleeping or resting, lions are the laziest of the big cats. They can be found lying on their backs with their feet up or taking a snooze up in a tree. While lazing around, they are very affectionate towards one another, rubbing heads, grooming and purring.
“Hello grand Sir. You must be the strong and skilled hunter for your family.”
“No, I’m actually the protector of the pride. The lionesses are much better hunters than me.”
“Good evening Surus, the most respected elephant in all the land. Would you please tell me why you have such big ears?”
“My ears are like large fans. They help to keep me cool in the African heat.”
Elephant at Sunset
Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya African elephants are the largest animal on Earth. Elephant ears radiate heat to help keep these large animals cool, but sometimes the African heat is too much. Elephants are fond of water and enjoy showering by sucking water into their trunks and spraying it all over themselves, Afterwards, they often spray their skin with a protective coating of dust. An elephant’s trunk is actually a long 7 foot nose used for smelling, breathing, trumpeting, drinking and also for grabbing things - especially a potential meal. African elephants have two finger like features on the end of their trunk that they can use to grab small items. Both male and female African elephants have tusks they use to dig for food, water and stripping bark from trees. Males will use their tusks to battle one another for dominance. Elephants are social creatures. They sometimes hug by wrapping their trunks together in displays of greeting and affection. Elephants also use their trunks to help lift or nudge an elephant calf over an obstacle, to rescue a fellow elephant trapped in the mud, or to gently raise a newborn elephant to it’s feet. And just as a human baby sucks it’s thumb, an elephant calf often sucks it’s trunk for comfort. The African elephant eats roots, grasses, fruit and bark. An adult elephant can consume up to 300 pounds (136 kilograms) of food in a single day. These hungry animals do not sleep much, and they roam over great distances while foraging for the large quantities of food that they require to sustain their massive bodies. Female elephants (cows) live in family herds with their young, but adult males (bulls) tend to roam on their own. Having a baby elephant is a serious commitment. Elephants have a longer pregnancy than any other mammal - almost 22 months. Cows usually give birth to one calf every two to four years. At birth, elephants already weigh some 200 pounds (196 kilograms) and stand about three feet (1 meter) tall.
Cheetah Mother and Cub Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya.
The cheetah is the world’s fastest land mammal. A cheetah can go from 0 to 60 miles (96 kilometers) an hour in only three seconds. It usually chases it’s prey at only about half that speed. Before unleashing their speed, cheetahs use exceptionally keen eyesight to scan their grassland environment for signs of prey - especially antelope and hares. This big cat is a daylight hunter that benefits from a distinctive spotted coat that allows it to blend easily into high, dry grasses. When the moment is right, a cheetah will sprint after it’s prey and attempt to knock it down. Such chases cost the cheetah a tremendous amount of energy and are usually over in less than a minute. If successful, the cheetah will often drag it’s kill to a shady hiding place to protect it from other animals that sometimes snatch a meal before the cheetah can eat. Cheetahs need only drink once every three or four days. Female cheetahs typically have a litter of three cubs and live with them for one and a half to two years. Young cubs spend their first year learning from their mother and practicing hunting techniques with playful games. Male cheetahs live alone or in small groups, often with their litter mates.
“Good day to both of you! Can you climb high trees like the leopards and tigers?”
“Unfortunately, we cannot climb tall trees with our short claws, Mr. Biddle.”
“Hello my big friend! May I ask why you are endangered animals?”
“Sadly, we are often hunted by humans for our horns.”
Sabi Sabi, South Africa White rhinos live on Africaâ€™s grassy plains where they sometimes gather in herds with as many as fourteen animals. They graze on grasses, walking with their enormous heads and squared lips lowered to the ground. Under the hot African sun, they take cover by lying in the shade. Rhinos are also wallowers. They find a suitable water hole and roll in its mud, coating their skin with a natural bug repellent and sun block. White rhinos drink twice a day if water is available, but if conditions are dry it can live four or five days without water. It spends about half the day eating, one third resting and the rest of the day doing various things. White rhinos produce sounds which include a panting contact call, grunts and snorts during courtship, squeals of distress, and deep bellows or growls when threatened. Threat displays (in males mostly) include wiping its horn on the ground and ears back, combined with snarl threats and shrieking if attacked. Rhinos have sharp hearing and a keen sense of smell. They may find one another by following the trail of scent that each enormous animal leaves behind it on the grassy plains. White rhinos have two horns that grow as much as three inches (eight centimeters) per year, and have been known to grow up to five feet (1.5 meters) long. Females use their horns to protect their young, while males use them to battle attackers.
Male Crocodile at the Mara River Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.
The Nile crocodile is an African crocodile and may be considered the second largest reptile in the world, after the saltwater crocodile. The Nile crocodile can be found in the central, eastern and southern regions of Africa and live in lakes, rivers and marshlands. The adult male crocodile is between 11 ft 6 in and 16 ft 5 in (3.5 to 5 meters) in length and weighs 496 to 1,653 lbs. (225 to 725 kg). The Nile crocodile is a very aggressive species of crocodile that is capable of taking almost any animal within its range. Their diet consists of different species of fish, birds, reptiles and mammals. The Nile crocodile is an ambush predator that can wait for hours, days and even weeks for the suitable moment to attack. They have an extremely powerful bite and sharp pointed teeth that sink into flesh allowing for a grip that is almost impossible to loosen. Nile crocodiles are quite social reptiles. They share basking spots and large food sources, such as schools of fish and big carcasses. Like most other reptiles, Nile crocodiles lay eggs and are carefully guarded by the female. The hatchlings are also protected for a period of time, but hunt by themselves and are not fed by their parents. The Nile crocodile is one of the most dangerous species of crocodile and is responsible for hundreds of human deaths every year.
“Excuse me... Mr. Crocodile. I just have a brief question. Are you the same color as alligators?”
“We tend to have a lighter color than the alligators.”
“Good Morning Everyone! Can someone tell me why you are pink in color?”
“Oooohhheeee..tok..tok..tok We are pink because we eat plankton and blue-green algae. tok..tok..”
Walvis Bay, Namibia Flamingos are famous for their bright pink feathers. stilt-like legs and S-shaped neck. When a flamingo spots a potential meal which includes shrimp, snails and blue-green algae, it plunges it’s head into the water, twists it upside down and scoops the fish using it’s upper beak like a shovel. They are able to “run” on water, thanks to their webbed feet, to gain speed before lifting up into the sky. Flamingos are very social birds. They live in colonies whose population can number in the thousands. These large colonies help them to avoid predators and maximize food intake. Flamingos build nests that look like mounds of mud along the waterways. At the top of the mound, in a shallow hole, the female lays one egg. The parents take turns sitting on the egg to keep it warm. After about 30 days, the egg hatches. Flamingo young are born white with soft, downy feathers and a straight bill. The bill gradually curves downward as the flamingo matures. Both parents take care of the newborn, feeding it a fluid produced in their digestive system. The young leave the nest after about five days to join other young flamingos in small groups, returning to their parents for food. The parents identify their chicks by its voice. After about three weeks, the adults herd young flamingos into small groups called “crèches” where they start to look for food on their own.
Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya The warthog is a wild member of the pig family found in the grassland, savanna and woodland of Africa. Their head-to-body length ranges from 3.0 to 4.9 ft (0.9 to 1.5 m). Females, at 99 to 165 lb (45 to 75 kg), are a bit smaller and lighter in weight than males, 130 to 330 lb (60 -150 kg). A warthog is identifiable by the two pairs of tusks protruding from the mouth and curving upwards. The tusks are used for digging, for combat with other hogs and in defense against predators. The head of the warthog is large, with a mane down the spine to the middle of the back. Sparse hair covers the body. Its color is usually black or brown. Tails are long with a tuft of hair. The warthogâ€™s diet is composed of grasses, roots, berries and other fruits, bark, fungi, insects and eggs. Warthogs are powerful diggers, using both their snouts and feet. During feeding, they often bend their front feet backwards and move around on their wrists. Although they can dig their own burrows, they commonly occupy the burrows of aardvarks and other animals. Warthogs will wallow in mud to cope with high temperatures and huddle together to withstand colder weather. Although capable of fighting, the warthogs primary defense is to flee by means of fast sprinting. Their main predators are humans, lions, leopards, crocodiles, wild dogs and hyenas. When they are about to give birth, sows temporarily leave their families and reside in a separate hole. The litter is typically 2 -8 piglets. The warthog sow will stay in the hole for several weeks, nursing her piglets. Warthog young begin grazing at about two to three months and are weaned by six months. They quickly attain mobility and stay close to their mothers for defense.
“Good Morning Naseku. How fast can you run?”
“I can run as fast as 30 miles (48 kilometers) an hour.”
“Hello Lion Cub. Do you have any other names?”
“Yes. I’m also called a whelp or lionet. Let’s play hide and seek, Mr. Biddle.”
Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya Lionesses give birth to a litter of one to four cubs in a secluded den (which may be a thicket, a reed-bed, cave or some other sheltered area) usually away from the rest of the pride. She will often hunt by herself while the cubs are helpless, staying close to the thicket or den where the cubs are kept. The cubs are born blind - their eyes do not open until roughly a week after birth. They weigh 2.6 to 4.6 lb (1.2 - 2.1 kg) at birth. Lion cubs begin to crawl a day or two after birth and start walking at three weeks of age. The lioness moves her cubs to a new den site several times a month, carrying them one by one by the nape of the neck. This relocation of cubs prevents scent from building up at a single den location and thus protects them from predator attacks. Usually, the mother does not integrate herself and her new cubs back into the pride until the cubs are six to eight weeks old. When first introduced to the rest of the pride, the cubs initially lack confidence when confronted with adult lions other than their mother. They soon begin to immerse themselves into pride life, however playing among themselves or attempting to initiate play among themselves. The tolerance of the male lion toward the cubs varies - sometimes, a male will patiently let the cubs play with his tail or his mane, whereas another may snarl and bat the cubs away. Female cubs stay with the group as they age. At around two years old, they become capable hunters. But young males are forced out of the pride at that age. They form bachelor groups and follow migrating herds until they are strong enough to challenge male lions of other prides. In general, a group of males stays in power in the pride for about three years before another bachelor group takes over.
About the Author l Anne Mason Anne Mason always loved to write, but it wasn’t until she became seriously ill with Endometriosis that she made the hobby into a career. During months of agonizing treatments for the disease, Anne was unable to work outside her home. “It took my love for teddy bears and combined it with my love for children and my love of England…to produce Mr. Biddle,” Mason said. With time on her hands, while looking out the window of her home, she remembered her time in England. Putting together her love of children, who all love teddy bears, her writing ability, and an idea, the delightfully wonderful Mr. Biddle along with all his animal friends in the great big forest they called home came into being….to teach children about some “lessons” of life through a series of books. In October 2008, Anne experienced even “lessons in life” as a principal actor in the 2009 adventure documentary film, Journey to Everest by Epiphany Productions. On their way to begin their ascent, they were bumped from a plane flight at Lukla airport that inevitably crashed in the mountains. All 18 passengers on board perished. Not to be defeated, she returned to Mount Everest in November 2009, and successfully climbed to Base Camp at an altitude of 17,600 ft. Now she is focusing on continuing the story of Mr Biddle on the ground.
About the Photographer l Jim Zuckerman
Jim Zuckerman left his medical studies in 1970 to pursue his love of photography and turn it into a career. Jim specializes in wildlife, nature, and travel photography, macro work, photomicroscopy and digital effects. His diversity in technique and style is unique in the professional arena. He states that he only photographs beauty, leaving the dark side of life to other photographers. Jim is a contributing editor to Petersen’s Photographic Magazine and Shutterbug Magazine, and he is the author of 25 books on photography. His images, articles, and photo features have been published in scores of books and magazines including Time-Life books, publications of the National Geographic Society, the Economist, Omi Magazine, and Life Magazine, and he now teaches many on-line photo courses for Betterphoto.com. Jim also leads photography tours to exotic destinations such as Indonesia, Turkey, Namibia, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Patagonia, and Mongolia.
afari day emerges on the grassy plains of the Maasai Mara. The African sunrise awakens a rich diversity of wildlife in their natural habitats. Soon these amazing animals are hunting and protecting their territory as they have done for thousands and thousands of years. Mr. Biddle invites you on a journey to explore southern Africa and learn about the most majestic creatures in the world.
Published on Nov 20, 2016
Published on Nov 20, 2016
Africa is the second largest continent in the world. It is surrounded by several bodies of water including The Mediterranean Sea, The Red S...