The creatures of Night Safari are joining forces to address fables surrounding their dark nature! Some creatures in the animal kingdom are associated with myths that leave them with bad reputations. Thoughts of bats, wolves and hyenas often conjure up images of the supernatural world, and give people the shivers! The time has come for us to shed light on the truths behind some of these urban legends.
While they do feed on carrion and scraps left behind by more glamorous predators like lions, they are actually excellent hunters. Relying on endurance, hyenas chase prey over long distances until it is winded, before closing in for the kill. They have one of the greatest bite forces in the animal kingdom and are even capable of bringing down prey over three times their own weight. Look out for Night Safari’s striped and spotted hyenas (pictured above) during the tram experience. The latter, otherwise known as the laughing hyena for its maniacal vocalisation when frustrated, can also be seen along the East Lodge walking trail too.
While some cultures associate these nocturnal raptors with witchcraft, sorcery and even death, there are others who believe owls represent wisdom and intelligence. Contrary to popular belief, owls cannot rotate their heads a complete circle. With 14 neck vertebrae, compared to only 7 in humans, owls can rotate their heads by 270 degrees in either direction. Equipped with specialised soft-edged flight feathers, even the largest and heaviest of owls, like Night Safari’s Eurasian eagle owl, is capable of flying silently thorough the night sky to swoop down on unsuspecting rodents — an ability that accentuates the mystical aura surrounding them. Marvel at this winged predator along Night Safari’s Leopard Trail.
While these large, prickly rodents do rely on their quills to protect themselves when threatened, they merely rattle their quills as a first warning. If the hapless predator does not get the hint, the porcupine will erect its quills and ram backwards at its attacker, leaving the latter with a muzzle full of dislodged quills for its trouble. These easily dislodged quills may have given rise to the myth that the quills can be launched from a distance. Encounter two species of these fascinating rodents along Night Safari’s Leopard Trail — the Malayan and Indian-crested porcupines.
No thanks to their inverted hanging ways and the misconception that blood is part of their diet, bats are often associated with vampires. In reality, only a small percentage — just three out of over a thousand of the species — actually consume blood. Fruit bats, like Night Safari’s Malayan flying foxes, keep the ecosystem running like clockwork, by contributing to rainforest regrowth through seed dispersal and pollination, which in turn results in hundreds of commercial products and medicines. Bat guano is also known to be a great fertiliser! Walk through Night Safari’s Mangrove Walk for a closer look at these intriguing winged mammals.
Wolf imagery is abound in mythology and folklore, and one of the first that comes to mind is the legend of the werewolf. While werewolves are synonymous with shape-shifting, a hulking physique and dense fur coat, Night Safari’s Indian wolf is smaller in stature with a short coat and no shape-shifting abilities, although its fur colouration does help it blend with its surroundings! The only thing the Indian wolf has in common with the famed werewolf is its haunting howl, a vocalization to defend their territory and rally the pack. Don’t miss these elusive creatures on Night Safari’s tram experience.
Know of other urban legends? Share them with us and let’s see if we can debunk them for you!