Friday, March 8, 2013

Animal Kingdom Artifact: Water

   These beautiful well themed informational signs are located in the public spaces surrounding Animal Kingdom Lodge's savanna viewing areas.  In addition to the fables are actual facts about life on the savanna...

Many summers ago, a herd of wildebeests traveled from
waterhole to waterhole, only to find them all dry. One day,
while resting from their endless searching, the herd was
startled by a loud rumble.   Looking up, they saw dark clouds 
on the horizon. Unsure of the sound, the animals prepared to 
flee. But one young wildebeest paused, sniffed the air, and 
caught the faint scent of rain.  Boldly, he moved toward the clouds.  
The others cautiously followed, and soon they found pools of fresh rainwater.  
To this day, wildebeest migrate toward the sound of thunder, and the promise of
life-giving rain. 

Thanks For The Memories
When the African summer gets hot and the water becomes scarce, how do animals
find their next source of precious water? Many of the larger mammals just seem to 
remember where to go.  In fact, year after year, a herd will
follow the same migratory path, moving from water source to water source, a use of collective
"memory" that is passed down from generation to generation.

How Dry Am I
Certain animals adapt to hot, dry conditions in different ways. Kudus, among others, can live
for days off the moisture from the plants they eat.  An eland, on the other hand,
lets its body temperature rise 7 degrees higher than normal on very hot days
cutting down on its need for water. 

You Go On Ahead. We'll Stay Behind And Tidy Up.
As a water hole dries up and the herds move on in search of more water,
the party's not over.  Some birds will remain
to feed off the tender invertebrates exposed in the mud and muck left behind. 

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