Hi Quilting Friends,
Today we are exploring the wonderful animals that you can only find in and around the African desert. A very diverse array of species exist near the edges of the desert, but we have chosen critters that are more adapted to the desert than lions, giraffes or hippos.
But first, let’s listen to the song that inspired this grouping!
First things first, here is a photo of our Midnight at the Oasis (aka African Desert Critters) quilt:
We have all heard about the Red-necked Ostrich, but did you know that he doesn’t really bury his head in the sand? These flightless birds are the biggest birds in the world and can be up to 9 ft. tall and weigh up to 320 pounds, yet they can run up to 31 mph! I know, I didn’t make his neck red because that only happens when it is mating time (remember this blog is rated G), his beak and shins turn bright red and sometimes his neck will change colors to match.
The Egyptian vulture is also known as “Pharoah’s Chicken”. They are the smallest of all vultures with a wingspan of 5.6′ and stand 23″ to 28″ in height. They can travel up to 80 miles searching for food. They are solitary birds and only gather for mating and raising their chicks. Vulture couples mate for life.
Our Jerboa is quite the little hopper! He can hop up to 9.8′ when being chased by a predator. They usually live in their own burrows and are solitary animals. These cute little critters are on the threatened species list. They are nocturnal critters that never drink water! The plants and the bugs that they occasionally consume provide all their water needs.
Did you hear that? I swear I just heard an animal saying “ha ha ha” ! Oh, it’s just Mr. Civit. He looks like a raccoon with the body of a weasel! The first thing I noticed was that smell! His musk can last for as long as 3 months! Reminds me of when our dog got sprayed by a skunk, no matter what we tried, we just had to wait for the smell to go away. Civit can eat things that are either poisonous or taste bad to most mammals, so I guess he never lacks for food!
The Desert Warthog is a member of the pig family that exists only in Africa and can found on the Red List of Threatened Species. Adults average 49″ in length and 165 lbs. but still manage to run about 30 mph. Warthogs live in dens, but don’t dig their own, preferring to use abandoned dens in which to make their homes. Some people think they are vicious predators, but in truth these creatures are vegetarians who will only eat an occasional insect if they get hangry. During dry seasons, they can go for months without water.
It just wouldn’t be the African desert if we left out the true Ship of the Desert, Mr. Camel! No, he doesn’t store water in his hump, instead it is a storage place for fats that are used as an energy source when food is scarce. When they find water, they can drink up to 53 gallons of water in about 3 minutes. The water is stored in their bloodstream, not in their humps. Full grown at 10′ long, with a height of 6′ 1″ at the shoulders and 7′ 1″ at the hump, the camel can weigh up to 1,320 lbs. I find it fascinating that camels actually have 3 eyelids, two with lashes which go up and down, and the third set closes from the sides. They use the third set like a wiper to clean all the dirt from their eyes. If they’re caught out in a sandstorm, they close the third set of eyelids to protect their eyes from the sand. They have extremely good eyesight and can detect danger from 2 to 3 miles away, providing ample time to flee.
Honey Badger (also known as a Ratel) is the biggest land weasel in Africa and holds the Guinness Record Book title as the most fearless animal in the world! Most of the big predators are not courageous enough to hunt this little guy even though he is only 9 to 11″ tall at the shoulders, 22-30″ long body plus a tail 4.7-11.8″ long. The biggest males weigh up to 35 lbs. But why is he called a honey badger? Because most of the time, they search only for bee hives to eat the sweet golden nectar. Usually he eats little things like frogs, rodents, etc., but will “try” plants if necessary. They are known for being able to kill big and dangerous snakes like cobras and even black mambas. Honey badger, he don’t care.
If you’re inspired by our desert creatures, please take time to browse the “Midnight at the Oasis” designs in Ms P’s Pattern shop. You can purchase the quilt pattern right here:
- Finished Size = 42″ by 42″
- Just $20 USD
We hope that you have enjoyed learning more about African desert critters. Please let us know which is your favorite and join us next time to learn about the rest of the critters that enjoy the desert!