The grasslands of Africa support large herds of animals-elephants, antelope and gazelles. These animals graze on the abundant plants that grow there. At the NC Zoo, enjoy a walking safari though the Watani Grasslands exhibit and spot rhinos, elephants, Thompson’s gazelle, gemsbok, waterbucks, ostriches, and greater kudu.
African elephants are the world’s largest land mammals. Males can weigh up to 13,000 lbs. while females typically weigh 7000 lbs. They regulate body temperature by flapping their large ears, which are abundant with blood vessels. Elephants use their flexible trunks for breathing, eating, drinking and communicating. This matriarchal society communicates through a complex system of rumbling below the range of human sensory systems. Elephants are herbivores that eat various grasses, bark, tree branches, fruits and leaves. Their poor digestive systems utilize only half of what they eat.
Southern White Rhinoceros
The largest of all rhinoceros species, the southern white rhino weighs 4000-6000 lbs. They are distinguished by a large shoulder hump and wide, squared lips that grasp and cut the short grasses they like to eat. Rhinos are surprisingly agile, despite their bulky appearance. Rhinos have poor eyesight and depend heavily upon their hearing and excellent sense of smell.