Big Nine wildlife of Africa

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Big nine are big five (lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and buffaloes) and four others. The four others are Giraffes, hippo ,cheetahs and zebras. In one of the posts on this website, we explained deeply about the big five wildlife safari. The big five are large amazing wildlife in Kenya. They are very dangerous animals, most of them are in danger because of wildlife poaching. When we talk about the big nine safaris. We talk of the big five wildlife animals plus others that don’t look very dangerous as such. If you have not read about big five We hereby encourage you to look at the big five here . Here we will add four wildlife animals which will make the list to the big nine. We hope you have read the big five post. Now let’s continue

Four animals that when added to the big five make the big nine list.

Giraffes are big nine

big nine giraffes
A Masai giraffe in one of the Kenyan national parks

During one of the December holiday, I managed to visit Mwaluganje Elephant sanctuary. It is located in Kwale County, It was my first safari in that reserve in the coast of Kenya. This was the first time I saw a giraffe.

 As I was looking in the bushes, I saw the tallest mammals in the entire world. The giraffe stood five point seven meters tall from the ground. It had a long neck of about two and a half meters. As I looked at its head I saw the horns only to realize that they are not sharp. What looked like horns were actually not horns but knobs covered with skin. The eyelids have hairs that protect them from being injured by thorns.  When it opened the mouth wide to pick the leaves from the acacia tree . The tongue was black in colour and was about fifty centimetres long. The giraffes use their long tongues to pick leaves from tall trees.

What types of giraffes

All giraffes don’t have the same pattern. There are two types of giraffes in Kenya. One is the Masai giraffe found in the Amboseli National Park. The Rothschild giraffe found in the giraffe minor in Nairobi.

The Masai giraffe or the Kilimanjaro Giraffes are found in the Amboseli national park and Masai Mara national reserve. They are the tallest and largest giraffes, they are found in East Africa, Kenya, and Tanzania

What is the difference between a Rothschild giraffe and Masai Giraffe?

The difference between the Rothschild giraffe and the Masai giraffe is the markings; the Rothschild giraffes have white limbs. It is like Rothschild giraffes are wearing socks. The Masai giraffes don’t have white limbs; the pattern extends almost to the hooves. The Masai giraffes are the largest giraffes. Maasai giraffes commonly found in many national Parks in Kenya, the Rothschild giraffes are endangered species.

Roth child giraffe a big nine
Roth Child Giraffe
Masai giraffe is one of the big nine
Masai giraffe

How long doest it take for a giraffe to mature

Giraffes are wildlife animals that mature very first. When mating is successful the female will take about 450 days or fifteen months before she perpetuates. The cow always gives birth when standing, the calf will fall to the grown. The mother will lick the calf after about thirty minutes the calf of a giraffe will stand. Within this short time will have learned to stand up and walk. walking is an adaptation they have to learn so that fast.

The calf will have sucked cholesterol milk within one or two hours after birth.  The calf will depend on her mother’s milk for six to nine months. By the end of one year, calves can depend on their own. Necking is when they fight. However many people say that necking does not cause injuries. It is only for the purpose of finding who is the strongest.

It will take three years for a giraffe to reach maturity; giraffes have a life span of fifteen to twenty years.

Where can you see the giraffe when in Kenya?

Masai girrafes are very common in national parks in Kenya.

They can be found in Amboseli National Park, Tsavo West National Park, Tsavo East National Park, and Nairobi National Parks in Kenya.

did you know that Zebras are big nine

Zebras taking water at a water hole
Zebras in a national Park in Kenya

The zebras are in the family of horses. Zebras look like very big black and white donkeys, their black and white colour makes them very attractive, they are very social mammals that live in groups, each group is has a stallion, the work of a stallion is to protect other members of his family and to ensure there are new fouls in the family. Stallions produce a sound (brays) that will alert the mares and fouls to run away while he stays behind the group defending it.  You can’t find two mature stallions in the same family of Zebras, the male is larger than the female.

How do zebras defend themselves?

zebra kicks
Male zebras fighting the dominance

They have many predators but their number one predator is the lion, during the annual wildebeest migration in Masai Mara many of them are killed by lions after crossing the Mara River, many Zebras also die in the river when they are attacked by the crocodiles when trying to cross the river, Zebras have three powerful senses which include eyesight, smelling and hearing.   When they are in a group they can easily defend themselves than when they are separated.  

Stallions have very powerful kicks that can kill human kill lions. in case they find that the predator is stronger. A predator who will catch a zebra must run more than 60 kilometers per hour. Male Zebras are good in using their mothers to bite. if it happens a zebra bites your neck you might die because they will not let go.

Can Zebras swim?

Zebras aster swimming Masai river
Zebras after swimming Masai Mara river

Zebras are very good swimmers. At the Masai Mara national reserve you will see the Zebras crossing the Mara River during the annual wildebeest migration, however, when they are in the water they can easily defend themselves. Most of them are killed by the crocodiles in the water.

Do they migrate with another animal?

In the Masai Mara, you will find zebras migrating together with wildebeests.

Zebras are very intelligent

 In Ndii village in Taita Taveta County, a group of Zebras come from the nearby national park during the day. to visit the village, they come out of the park because they are number one food for big cats like lions and leopards, coming out of the park guarantee them safety, they spend all day long eating along the Mombasa- Nairobi highway eating grass. I have witnessed them crossing the highway full of heavy trucks, Lorries, busses, and SUVs, they will eat along the highway and cross when the automobiles are very far away.

I had a dialogue with one boy who lives in the village

Jepherson “where do these zebras come from and why are they here “?

Boy “they come from the national park in the morning and return to the park at night”

Jepherson “Why do they come out of the park national park”?

Boy: “They fear lions in the National Park, so they come here for safety during the day”

Jepherson: “Is there human-wildlife conflict because of the zebras in the villages?”

Boy: “There is no human-wildlife conflict, the zebras only eat grass like donkeys which grows along the highway, during the dry season peasant farmers are also not planting anything in the farms because they only depend on rainwater when it rains farmers plant maize, Zebras don’t like to eat  tall plants like maize, they love grass.”

Jepherson:” Where do they get the water to drink because the village looks dry”

Boy: “They can go for many days without the water, they also know where to find water inside the park, and sometimes they migrate to Voi River”

Why you can’t tame a Zebra?

 In the early 1900s, a Portuguese doctor called Rosendo Ribeiro who lived in the city of Nairobi captured a zebra and trained it, he found the zebras were much stronger than donkeys, he used zebra to transport himself and medicine to his patients who lived in Nairobi city.

Rosendo Ribeiro later sold the stallion to a zoo in India.

I once travelled on the Mombasa – Nairobi highway (A109), I came across groups of Zebras who are intelligent enough to leave the national park in the morning and come to a village, the zebras have trained themselves to the extent that they don’t eat crops during the day.  When it is evening they will leave the village and return to the national park.

During the day you will see them waiting for the right time when the heavy trucks are not many, crossing to the other side of the road. This is a Clearly indication that these zebras are intelligent just like horses.

I had seen a man who owned a horse in Likoni in Mombasa city in Kenya crossing with his horse every day from Shelly beach at the Mainland and crossing with his horse to Mombasa Island using the ferry each day in the morning and in the evening returned with his horse to the Mainland.

Zebras can do the same thing as donkeys do, but we can’t tame the Zebras because they are wild animals, all wild animals have some characteristics or behavior the domestic animals do not have. Zebras are very aggressive .This makes zebras very dangerous.  If they can’t fight they will always defend themselves, they will do it by kicking so hard, and one kick of a zebra can kill a human being or a lion.  Secondly, these animals if they are angry they will bite so hard without leaving you until you are dead. This makes them very dangerous animals.

holy bible
Holy word of God: Job 39:8 “Who has set the wild ass free? Or who has loosed the bands of the ass”

Thirdly we can’t tame the Zebras because it is a fulfillment of the scriptures Job 39:8 “Who has set the wild ass free? Or who has loosed the bands of the ass” If you are a Christian you have heard the word of God and you know that the Scriptures can’t be broken, The Lord God of heaven allowed this animal to be a fee and there is nothing we can do about it.

Hippopotamuses are also big nine

In the largest national park in Africa. At the hippopotamuses, the point is the place where you can see the hippopotamuses in their natural environment. When you are in the coast province, you can also see them at the only zoo in Mombasa city (the Haller Park). 

hippos in Kenya
A hippopotamus at Haller park Mombasa Kenya

Growing up in the village of Ngolia in Wumingu – Kishushe ward of Taita Taveta, I was able to visit Kisheni dam, the only water catchment area that collects water to the semi-arid land of Kishushe, We could see the head eyes, and nose of these mammals floating in water during the day, they used to come out of the water during the evening to eat the grass around the dam and the nearby farms, they will spend about six hours eating.  

I had not seen the complete body of the mammal until I visited Haller Park in Mombasa County; these mammals looked very strange to me because of their big body very short limbs, short ears, and short tails, their eyes looked very big to me. When one of the keepers gave them some dairy meal, they came out of the water and walked slowly to the feeds, when I observed them I? Discovered that they have four toes 

They mainly feed on the grass during the night, because their skin does not have much hair they spend many hours in water during the day than at night, they can feed for about six hours.

Hippo‘s are territorial mammal

crocodiles in Kenya
Hippopotamuses are territorial animals

Hippopotamuses are have very long teeth of about 1.2 meters, they use their teeth to defend themselves, they are also known to kill humans,  during the migration in Masai Mara national reserve, they are also known to kill crocodiles if they touch their territories, surprisingly you might find them swim together with crocodiles if they have not been harassed.

Gestation period of hippopotamuses

They have a gestation period of twenty years when the calf is born on land, bushes, or inside water, if it is born in water it will learn to swim and float.  

If you would like to book for a big five or a big nine safari on one or more national parks in Kenya contact our safari book departments

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  1. […] are discussed here together hippopotamuses, giraffes, zebras and the cheetahs form what we call the big nine wildlife animals . All the big five wildlife animals need to be protected from poaching and ivory […]

  2. […] is a very old tortoise in the zoo. Hippopotamuses do not belong to big five wildlife animals,they , belong to big nine wildlife […]

  3. […] As we drove to Galana River we saw a lot of water animals, like hippopotamus, and crocodiles, the hippopotamuses are the big nine wildlife animals.  […]

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