Friday, February 24, 2012

Top 10 Africa’s Most Dangerous Animals


1. Hippopotamus


The hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), or hippo, from the ancient Greek for “river horse” (?pp?p?taµ??), is a large, mostly herbivorous mammal in sub-Saharan Africa, and one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae (the other is the Pygmy Hippopotamus.) After the elephant and rhinoceros, the hippopotamus is the third largest land mammal and the heaviest extant artiodactyl.
The hippopotamus is semi-aquatic, inhabiting rivers, lakes and mangrove swamps, where territorial bulls preside over a stretch of river and groups of 5 to 30 females and young. During the day they remain cool by staying in the water or mud; reproduction and childbirth both occur in water. They emerge at dusk to graze on grass. While hippopotamuses rest near each other in the water, grazing is a solitary activity and hippos are not territorial on land.
Despite their physical resemblance to pigs and other terrestrial even-toed ungulates, their closest living relatives are cetaceans (whales, porpoises, etc.) from which they diverged about 55 million years ago. The common ancestor of whales and hippos split from other even-toed ungulates around 60 million years ago.The earliest known hippopotamus fossils, belonging to the genus Kenyapotamus in Africa, date to around 16 million years ago.
The hippopotamus is recognizable by its barrel-shaped torso, enormous mouth and teeth, nearly hairless body, stubby legs and tremendous size. It is the third largest land mammal by weight (between 1½ and 3 tonnes), behind the white rhinoceros (1½ to 3½ tonnes) and the three species of elephant (3 to 9 tonnes). The hippopotamus is one of the largest quadrupeds (four legged mammals) and despite its stocky shape and short legs, it can easily outrun a human. Hippos have been clocked at 30 km/h (19 mph) over short distances. The hippopotamus is one of the most aggressive creatures in the world and is often regarded as one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. There are an estimated 125,000 to 150,000 hippos throughout Sub-Saharan Africa; Zambia (40,000) and Tanzania (20,000–30,000) possess the largest populations.They are still threatened by habitat loss and poaching for their meat and ivory canine teeth.

2. Mosquito


Mosquitoes are a family of small, midge-like flies, the Culicidae. Although a few species are harmless or even useful, most cause a nuisance by sucking blood from vertebrates, including humans. Several of the most harmful human and livestock diseases are transmitted by mosquitoes during feeding. Accordingly, some authorities argue that mosquitoes are the most dangerous animals on earth

3.Human

Human impact on the environment or anthropogenic impact on the environment includes impacts on biophysical environments, biodiversity and other resources.The term anthropogenic designates an effect or object resulting from human activity. The term was first used in the technical sense by Russian geologist A. P. Pavlov, and was first used in English by British ecologist Arthur Tansley in reference to human influences on climax plant communities. The atmospheric scientist Paul Crutzen introduced the term “anthropocene” in the mid-1970s. The term is sometimes used in the context of pollution emissions that are produced as a result of human activities but applies broadly to all major human impacts on the environment.

4. African Elephant


African elephants (also known as savanna elephants are the species of elephants in the genus Loxodonta (Greek for ‘oblique-sided tooth’), one of the two existing genera in Elephantidae. Although it is commonly believed that the genus was named by Georges Cuvier in 1825, Cuvier spelled it Loxodonte. An anonymous author romanized the spelling to Loxodonta and the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) recognizes this as the proper authority.

5. The Black Mamba


The black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis), also called the common black mamba or black-mouthed mamba, is the longest venomous snake in Africa, averaging around 2.5 to 3.2 meters (8.2 to 10 ft) in length, and sometimes growing to lengths of 4.45 meters (14.6 ft). It is named for the black colouration inside the mouth rather than the colour of its scales which varies from dull yellowish-green to a gun-metal grey. It is the fastest snake in the world, capable of moving at 4.32 to 5.4 metres per second (16–20 km/h, 10–12 mph).

6. Nile Crocodile


The Nile crocodile or Common crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) is an African crocodile which is common in Somalia, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Egypt, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Gabon, South Africa, Malawi, Sudan, Botswana, and Cameroon. Isolated populations also exist in Madagascar and in Senegal.

7. Great White Shark


The great white shark, scientific name Carcharodon carcharias, also known as the great white, white pointer, white shark, or white death, is a large lamniform shark found in coastal surface waters in all major oceans. It is known for its size, with the largest individuals known to have approached or exceeded 6 metres (20 ft) in length,and 2,268 kilograms (5,000 lb) in weight. This shark reaches maturity at around 15 years of age and can have a life span of over 30 years.
The great white shark is arguably the world’s largest known extant macropredatory fish and is one of the primary predators of marine mammals. It is also known to prey upon a variety of other marine animals including fish, pinnipeds, and seabirds. It is the only known surviving species of its genus, Carcharodon, and is ranked first in a list of number of recorded attacks on humans.The IUCN treats the great white shark as vulnerable,[while it is included in Appendix II of CITES.
The best selling novel Jaws by Peter Benchley and the subsequent blockbuster film by Steven Spielberg depicted the great white shark as a "ferocious man eater". In reality, humans are not the preferred prey of the great white shark.

8. Lion

The lion (Panthera leo) is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg (550 lb) in weight,it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger. Wild lions currently exist in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia with an endangered remnant population in Gir Forest National Park in India, having disappeared from North Africa and Southwest Asia in historic times. Until the late Pleistocene, about 10,000 years ago, the lion was the most widespread large land mammal after humans. They were found in most of Africa, across Eurasia from western Europe to India, and in the Americas from the Yukon to Peru. The lion is a vulnerable species, having seen a possibly irreversible population decline of thirty to fifty percent over the past two decades in its African range. Lion populations are untenable outside designated reserves and national parks. Although the cause of the decline is not fully understood, habitat loss and conflicts with humans are currently the greatest causes of concern. Within Africa, the West African lion population is particularly endangered.

9. Puff Adder


Puff adder is the common name of several snake species:
Bitis arietans, a venomous snake species found in Africa and the southern Arabian  eninsula
Bitis, any other member of this genus

10. Cape Buffalo


The African buffalo, affalo, nyati, Mbogo or Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is a large African bovine. It is not closely related to the slightly larger wild Asian water buffalo, but its ancestry remains unclear. Owing to its unpredictable nature which makes it highly dangerous to humans, it has not been domesticated unlike its Asian counterpart the domestic Asian water buffalo.