The Cape Peninsula Mountains are home to a number of animals including the Dassie, Klipspringer, Grey Mongoose, tortoises, wild cats and Chachma Baboons. There also some Tahrs still around- Himalayan mountain goats.
Rock Dassie (45-60 CM L)
The gregarious and agile dassies live in colonies and can often be seen sunning themselves on the rocks on the Western Table. The males seek high points from where they give a harsh warning call at the first sign of danger, causing members of the colony to scurry for shelter.
Please Note: Dassies appear tame and often scavenge for food around the Cable Station. This interferes with their natural digestion cyle. Please do not feed the Dassies,
Tahrs are shy animals that originated in North India. Two where imported to South Africa in 1937 by Cecil John Rhodes and kept in the zoo on the Rhodes Estate. They soon escaped by jumping the fence and disappeared onto Table Mountain. There they thrived on the fynbos vegetation and easily adapted to the mountain climate. Their rubber-like hooves make for easy movement on the steep cliffs and soon they posed a serious threat to the fynbos on the mountain. Conservation authorities have in recent decades introduced culling programmes to limit their numbers on Table Mountain. There are some left – they do make for a rare and joyful sighting.
Cape grysbok (54 CM H)
The secretive grysbok is a small antelope, identified by its thick bright coat sprinkled with grey hairs. It also has a habit of crashing unceremoniously through the undergrowth when disturbed.
Small grey mongoose
The diurnal and predominantly insectivorous grey mongoose hunts in the dense undergrowth and is readily identified by its dark salt-and-pepper colour and long bushy tail.
Common mountain lizard
These shy lizards find camouflage in the fynbos. They are active in the early morning and late afternoon and feed on small insects.
This tortoise has a distinctive flattened shell, and hooked upper jaw. It is also known as the common padloper.
Clicking stream frog
The repeated, short, sharp calls of this frog can be heard in marshy areas throughout the year, even in winter.
>> Night creatures
The beautiful cat-like small-spotted genet sleeps by day among loose boulders at the foot of the cliffs, emerging at night to feed on rats, lizards and birds which it often hunts by scent. When cornered, the genet lets out a nauseating musky smell.
The handsome caracal, with its reddish-brown coat and black tufted ears, is an important fynbos predator. It is a nocturnal animal and a ruthless hunter of small antelope, dassies, hares, rodents and birds, ranging far in search of prey.
Weighing up to 20 kg the porcupine is the largest rodent in Africa. The stout, black and white quills and long, thin spines act as a defence mechanism when threatened. Porcupines emerge at night from caves or burrows to feed on roots, bulbs, corms and fruit.
Cape burrowing scorpion
The most common scorpion on Table Mountain is the Cape burrowing scorpion, spending most of its day hiding under rocks, emerging at night to hunt small insects, its sting, while painful is not lethal.