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Fauna

Forming part of the Table Mountain National Park, there is an abundance of diverse fauna to be found.

(With gratitude to the TMNP).

Historical evidence (rock art and fossils) show that the Peninsila was once populated by lion, leopard and hyena. Hunting and environmental degradation drove these out of the area.

The following fauna is available in the greater Table Mountain National Park areas. 

Buck

Hard to spot making a sighting all the more special, the buck species is generally tiny and people shy. Look out for klipspringer. This petite buck is seen standing proudly on rocky outcrops. Grysbok, common duiker, Grey Rhebok and steenbok  can also be seen in the evening and early mornings.

klipspringer.jpg

Larger Antelope species such as Eland, Red Hartebeest, Bontebok and Cape Mountain Zebra can be found in the Cape of Good Hope(Cape Point) section of the TMNP.

Other mammals include: caracal or rooikat, Large-spotted genet, Small-spotted genet, porcupine, Rock Hyrax, Chacma Baboons, Cape Clawless Otter, Water mongoose; Cape Molerat, Striped Polecat; Cape Dune Mole, Water mongoose, Small Grey Mongoose and the Cape Fox.

 

REPTILES & AMPHIBIANS

Table Mountain hosts a wide variety of reptiles and amphibians.

Lizards and Snakes

The TMNP is home to around 22 snakes, 10 of which are non-venomous. Five are deadly, namely the Cape Cobra, the Puff Adder, Boomslang, Rinkhals and Berg Adder. Fortunately these are shy and avoid contact with humans. In the TMNP region, the Puff Adder is the venomous snake one is most likely to encounter. .

The most common lizards are the Southern Rock Agama (the males are identifiable by a bright blue head during mating season); the Black Girdled Lizard( all black and definitely prehistoric in looks); and the Cape Skink, usually found sunbathing on a warm rock.

Frogs and Toads

TMNP is a haven for a variety of amphibians most notably the endemic and endangered Table Mountain Ghost Frog and the endemic Cape Chirping Frog.

Also look out for the Cape River Frog, the diminutive Arum Lily Frog and the Leopard Toad.

Tortoises

They may be slow, but they are a pleasure to watch, the tortoises. Be alert for the Angulate Tortoise  and the Parrot-beaked Tortoise.

BIRDS

There is a large species count of birds in the TMNP due to the diversity of habitats present(ocean, shoreline, cliff-face, rocky highland, fynbos, forest and suburbia).

In fynbos regions look for Grey-backed Cisticola, Karoo Prinia, Cape Sugarbird, Malachite and Lesser Double Collared sunbirds. Cape Siskin, Cape Rock-thrush and Ground Woodpecker can be found in rocky areas at higher elevation.

Birds of Prey are also to be found overhead in higher altitude areas. Verreaux's (Black) Eagle, Jackal and Steppe buzzards, Rock Kestrel, and Peregrine Falcon are often found.

In forest patches look for Sombre Bulbul, Olive Thrush, Cape Batis, Dusky and Paradise flycatchers. African Olive/ Rameron Pigeon and Cinnamon Dove.

African Wood-Owl are often present in forest areas as are Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk and African Goshawk.

The Knysna Warbler can be found in dense thicket on the fringes of forests.

Seabirds

One of the birding highlights of the peninsula is the Jackass Penguin colony at Boulders Beach.

Other seabird's include: Cape Gannet, Black-browed Albatross, Sooty Shearwater, White-chinned and Giant petrels can be seen all year round when strong winds bring the birds closer to shore.

In winter look out for the Shy and Yellow-nosed albatross and Pintado Petrel.

Along the Peninsula coastline, the endangered African Black Oystercatcher are found as well as the resident species of cormorant namely - Crowned, Bank, White-breasted and Cape Cormorant. Kelp, Hartlaub's and Black-headed gulls are abundant throughout.

MARINE LIFE

The cold Benguela current meets the warm Algulhas which helps the TMNP Marine Protected Area(MPA) teem with life brought together in this cauldron.

The MPA was declared in order to protect this precious biodiversity from commercial and recreational exploitation.

Species occurring here range from microscopic planktons, crustaceans, abalone and rock lobster to giants such as the great white shark and the southern right whale. Amongst that numerous types of fish such as hake, yellow tail and cape salmon are also to be found. All three top-targeted commercial species. Others include red roman, white steenbras and galjoen– popular for recreational anglers but under strictly regulated conditions due to their threatened status.

The large number of Great White Sharks in the False Bay is mainly due to  the abundant population of Cape Fur seals, an efficient hunter in its own right, which have colonised Seal Island in the Bay.

WHALE WATCHING

The MPA is a popular breeding ground for species such as the Southern Right and Humpback. From August to October these giants entertain with their graceful marine acrobatics. Good vantage points for whale spotting are Chapman's Peak Drive, Rooikrans, Boyes Drive and the Scarborough/ Kommetjie Pass.

Other popular marine mammals are dolphins. These graceful and inquisitive animals are often to be seen body-surfing the various breaks around the peninsula. Commonly sighted species are the Bottlenose Dolphin, the Common Dolphin and the Dusky Dolphin.

 

INSECTS

There is an abundance of insects in the TMNP playing an integral role in the fynbos ecosystem by either directly pollinating plants or as a vital source of nutrient for birds and animals.

Certain insects are especially adapted to service specific plants. Look out for butterflies such as the Mountain Pride Butterfly, the exclusive pollinator of a variety of red plants such as the red disa, and the red crassula.

 

 
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