Moraea ramosissima 4719

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From the tiniest of creatures such as ants and beetles to the largest such as klipspringer and baboon – the fynbos with its nutrient poor soils and harsh dry summers is an inhospitable environment for fauna. However, they play a vital role in the ecology of fynbos and all play a part in shaping the unique flora of the Cape Floral Kingdom.

Apart from the larger species of fauna, a miniature world of industry literally hums amongst the vegetation! In one small patch of fynbos, you will be amazed at the huge diversity of creatures you might see - ants carrying seeds underground, oil-collecting bees, honey bees, monkey beetles, net-winged beetles, long-tongued flies, butterflies, crab spiders hiding cryptically in flower heads, orb-web spiders on silken webs, blue-headed lizards warming on rocks, a mouse scurrying for cover, a chameleon camouflaged on a twig, a tortoise or two, and maybe even a snake quickly slithering away!

Mammals that do occur in fynbos have reduced ranges and occur in relatively small numbers. Cape grysbok, klipspringer, and duiker occur in Fernkloof and have slender muzzles which allow them to select the most nutritious parts of the plant. Medium-sized mammals to be seen are the Chacma baboon, dassies, mongoose, and small rodents from the Striped mouse to the porcupine. Evidence of the Golden mole and the Cape dune mole can be seen in sand. Predators listed for Fernkloof include genet and the Cape Mountain leopard.

Reptiles include tortoise, lizards, geckos and skinks. Reptiles need to increase their body heat in order to get active for the day and lizards especially are often seen warming themselves on rocks.

The uniform structure of fynbos is one reason for the lack of diversity among birds since it provides relatively few different habitats for foraging and nesting. Two typical fynbos species are the Cape sugarbird (endemic to the fynbos region) and the Orange-breasted sunbird which feed mainly on protea and erica species. Fernkloof lists about 100 bird species and they play a vital role in pollination.