Strangest Creatures found in Africa

1. Shoe-bill stork



The Shoe-bill Stork is also known as Whale-head or Shoe-billed Stork. This beautiful bird can be found only in eastern parts of Africa, all the way from Sudan to Zambia. Shoe-bill prefers life in tropical dense marshes, swamps and wetlands. Shoe-bill is listed as vulnerable species, with no more than 8000 birds left in the wild. Shoe-bill is a type of bird that cannot be easily classified. The reason lays in the fact that shoe-bill has features that are characteristic for genetically unrelated types of birds such as storks, pelicans, hamerkop and herons. It can be almost 5 feet tall, 4 feet long, reaching 1.5 pounds in weight. The most prominent feature on the shoe-bill’s body is its beak. It is large, 9 inches long and 4 inches wide, and shaped like a shoe, and it ends with a nail-like hook, which is used for killing of the prey. Shoe-bill becomes sexually mature at age of three to four years and can survive more than 35 years in the wild.


2. Spiny Flower Mantis


Pseudocreobotra wahlbergi, or spiny flower mantis, or Mark Wahlberg’s more attractive cousin, is a beautiful and colorful flower mantis. They are white with orange and green stripes, and as adults they have a beautiful patch of color on their wings that looks like an eye. A mature Spiny Flower Mantis also has spiny structures on the underside of its abdomen. The spiny flower Mantis is native to southern and eastern Africa. When they’re first born, nymphs are mostly black and look almost like ants and have an upturned abdomen. Nymphs will molt approximately every two weeks; the time between molts gradually increases as the mantids get closer to adulthood. During molting, a mantis hangs upside down, sometimes shaking, and eventually wiggles out of its skin. It takes seven molts for a female to reach maturity, and six molts for males.

3.Hairy Frogs hairy frog (Trichobatrachus robustus), is also known as the horror frog or Wolverine frog. It is a Central African species of frog in the family Arthroleptidae. It is monotypic within the genus Trichobatrachus. Its common name refers to the somewhat hair-like structures on the body and thighs of the breeding male. Hairy frogs are found in dense forest along streams. The frogs are terrestrial during most of the year, and feed along the forest floor.The hairy frog is also notable in possessing retractable “claws” (though unlike true claws, they are made of bone, not keratin), which it may project through the skin, apparently by intentionally breaking the bones of the toe. In addition, the researchers found a small bony nodule nestled in the tissue just beyond the frog’s fingertip. When sheathed, each claw is anchored to the nodule with tough strands of collagen, but, as Gerald Durrell, a British naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist, author, and television presenter, discovered firsthand, when the frog is grabbed or attacked, the frog breaks the nodule connection and forces its sharpened bones through the skin.This species is roasted and eaten in Cameroon. They are hunted with long spears or machetes. The Bakossi people traditionally believed that the frogs fall from the sky and, when eaten, it would help childless human couples become fertile.

4. Okapi


Okapi is the only living relative of the giraffe. This beautiful animal lives in the northern, central and eastern parts of the Congo (Africa). Okapi prefers dense and damp vegetation, so it inhabits rain forests. Okapi was discovered in 1900, with 45 000 animals that lived in the wild at the time. Intensive deforestation during the 20th century and high susceptibility toward fungal, bacterial and viral infections reduced the number of okapis to around 10 000. At the moment they are listed as “near threatened”, which means that they could easily become endangered in the near future. Okapi has dark purple or reddish brown velvety fur, with white horizontal stripes on their front and hind legs. Okapi slightly resembles a zebra because of the stripes, but it shares much more similarities with giraffe. It has long skull, large black eyes and very long, purplish tongue, just like giraffe. Okapi’s tongue is 18 inches long and it can reach both its eyes and ears.

5. Hammerhead bat


Also known as a Horse bat, the males have an enlarged rostrum and larynx, and a large, square head. They can also be distinguished by their huge, pendulous lips, flaps around a warty snout, a bald, split chin and cheek pouches. To human eyes, these bats are really ugly, perhaps accounting for their species name, “monstrosus.” They are distributed in equatorial Africa. This large bat is found in riverine forests, mangroves, swamps, and palm forests at elevations less than 1,800 metres (5,900 ft). The Wildlife Conservation Society is partnering with the U.S. National Institutes of Health because these same bats are suspected to be asymptomatic reservoirs for Ebola virus. Due to this bat’s diet of fruit, it may be considered a crop pest. It has also been observed to attack live chickens. This observation was reported once and cannot be considered a regular occurrence. Humans hunt this large bat and consume it as bush meat.

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