The gorgeous Acacias dot every Serengeti landscape, with their 12 thorny species. They can't run away so they have defend themselves somehow ...
Acacia tortilis, (Umbrella Thorn Acacia Tree), Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
© Anouk Zijlma
Equally fascinating as the wildlife you see in the Serengeti National Park
, are the trees. There are hundreds of species of trees, I loved the brightly colored Fever trees as well as the Sausage tree. But the ones that really stick out, are the thorny acacias. Since they can't move, they've adapted to defend themselves in amazing ways. The clever thing about the Umbrella Thorn Acacia you see pictured here, is that it has sharp threatening thorns on the outer branches to stop giraffes snacking on them, but the inside branches are actually soft and green.
You may also see the Whistling acacia, they are quite numerous in the Serengeti. It's an amazing little tree. The thorns surround a hollow pod-like nub, which is home to a ferocious little stinging ant. The ants are attracted to the tree because it produces a very sweet nectar. They in turn help protect the tree from being grazed upon, by swarming and biting whatever dares touch the tree. If you carefully give the tree a shake, you'll see the army of little ants come out of the pods. Very clever! The little holes in the thorn nubs that allow the ants to come and go, make a whistling sound as the wind blows through, hence the name "Whistling acacia".