Small Mammals

 

Bats

In East Africa, bats are associated with ghosts and devils. Since most bats are nocturnal, they are difficult to see and hence believed to be ghosts. This is especially true of the gregarious cave-dwelling species whose calls are sometimes thought to be the cries of lost souls or demons.

Fruit BatEpauletted Fruit Bat

Epauletted Fruit Bats are crepuscular and so are quite easy to see at sunrise and sunset. They tend to roost in shady trees, but don't necessarily find dark corners. They can be seen quite easily at Lake Baringo Club and the photos on these pages were taken in daylight just outside the lodge reception area.

Yellow-winged BatYellow-winged Bat

The Yellow-winged Bat Lavia frons is found in forests and open country and is common in Kenya where it can be seen roosting in Acacia trees. It is quite often active by day (as with the one pictured on this site) and will, if disturbed, fly long distances in broad daylight. In the picture you can see that the bat has its eyes open observing its surroundings. It was slowly revolving on an acacia twig and, at first, it looked like a dead clump of leaves but then it flew out to catch dinner. These bats feed entirely on insects.

Shrews

White-toothed ShrewWhite-toothed Shrew

The White-toothed Shrew is the most common in Africa. They are members the genus Crocidura and there are 103 different species - some of which are so new that they have yet to be named! They have long whiskery noses and live in amongst the vegetation. They eat insects and other invertebrates as well as eating small vertebrates.

Hyrax

HyraxRock Hyrax

The Rock Hyrax, Heterohyrax brucie, also known as Bruce's Dassie is a small hoofed mammal which lives in colonies among rocks and boulders, sometimes (as in the Lake Baringo region) they live in the basalt cliffs providing Verreaux's Eagle with its main prey. They are mainly vegetarian eating leaves and grass and have a remarkably high tolerance to plant toxins. They will also sometimes eat insects and small lizards. They are adapted to life in dry rocky terrain and can survice for long periods without drinking.

Squirrels

Ground SquirrelGround Squirrel

The Unstriped Ground Squirrel, Xerus rutilus, is one of 2 species of Ground Squirrel in Kenya (the other being Geoffroy's Ground Squirrel, Euxerus erythropus). These small mammals use burrows and only rarely climb. They eat vegetation in particular nuts and seeds. They are common in lodge grounds in Samburu.

Hares

Cape HareCape Hare

The Cape Hare, Lepus capensis, is primarily vegetarian but also occasionally eats mice. They include a range of buds, bark, twigs, fruit, fungus and roots in their diet. They have excellent hearing and sense of smell but while they have very large eyes, their eyesight is only moderate for stationary items (it is, however, very good for moving objects). They spend long periods lying flat in their forms which are depressions in the ground, often beneath a bush. They are solitary animals but are not overly territorial and they will tolerate other animals of the same species in their locality.

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