Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
A Field Guide to the Mammals of Egypt

A Field Guide to the Mammals of Egypt

Richard Hoath
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 320
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    A Field Guide to the Mammals of Egypt
    Book Description:

    A Field Guide to the Mammals of Egypt is the first comprehensive field guide to every mammal species recorded in contemporary Egypt, from gazelle to gerbil, from hyena to hyrax. Each mammal species is described in detail, with reference to identification features, status, habitat, and habits, and with comparisons to similar species. A map is also provided for each species, clearly showing its current, and in some cases historical, range. Every species is meticulously illustrated—the bats and sea mammals in detailed black-and-white illustrations, all other species in scientifically accurate color plates. Additional vignettes emphasize aspects of mammal behavior, cover the minutiae of such features as the nose-leafs and ear structure of the various bat species, and illustrate the tracks and trails of the more commonly encountered mammals. This is an indispensable reference work for anyone interested in the wildlife of Egypt, from professional biologists to desert travelers and interested amateurs. Furthermore, as it describes and illustrates every whale and dolphin species recorded in Egyptian waters, including the Red Sea, it will be of special significance to anyone diving in the region. The book is compact, easy to slip into a daypack, and well up to the rigors of desert travel.

    eISBN: 978-1-61797-272-0
    Subjects: Zoology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Chapter 1 The Biogeography of Egypt
    (pp. 1-14)

    The political entity of Egypt makes up the northeasternmost corner of the African continent, together with the Sinai Peninsula. It has an area of c. 1,019,449km², of which around 18,000km² are administered by Sudan (Sudan Government Administration Area). The land borders to the north and east are clearly defined by the coastal areas bordering the Mediterranean and Red Seas respectively, but to the west and south, as well as the eastern land frontier, the borders follow no natural boundaries but are colonial legacies; to the south with Sudan, the west, Libya, and the east, Palestine and Israel. While beyond the...

  6. Chapter 2 Using the Guide
    (pp. 15-22)

    This guide is designed to help the reader identify mammals seen in the field in Egypt. Sometimes this can be straightforward. A rabbit-like mammal with very long ears and a short, black-and-white patterned tail is clearly a Cape HareLepus capensis,while a goat-like mammal with knobby, back-curved horns and strikingly patterned limbs seen in the mountains of South Sinai can safely be identified as a Nubian IbexCapra ibex,once the domestic goat is eliminated. However, very often things are not so clear-cut. Mammals are often very difficult to observe. They are often very shy and secretive, and while...

  7. Chapter 3 The Insectivores—Order Insectivora
    (pp. 23-36)

    The insectivores is a heterogeneous order of mammals that includes the familiar hedgehogs, shrews, and moles along with the much less familiar golden moles, solenodons, otter shrews, and tenrecs. In the past, elephant shrews, tree shrews, and flying lemurs, or colugos, have also been lumped into the order, though each is now generally assigned to the orders Macroscelidea, Scandentia, and Dermoptera, respectively. Being such a catch-all group, it is difficult to assign general characteristics to the insectivores. However, they are all small, none heavier than 1,500g and generally much smaller and, indeed, include Savi’s Pygmy ShrewSuncus etruscus,the smallest...

  8. Chapter 4 The Bats—Order Chiroptera
    (pp. 37-74)

    The bats are unique amongst the mammals in their ability to fly. While other mammals, such as the flying squirrels, the scaly-tails, and the peculiar flying lemurs—none of which occur in Egypt—can glide on skin membranes between their outstretched limbs, it is only the bats that are capable of true, flapping flight. In order to do this, the bats have evolved a body plan radically different from any other group of mammals. The forelimbs have essentially become the wings with the fingers greatly elongated to form a framework over which the flight membrane (a slender membrane of skin...

  9. Chapter 5 The Carnivores—Order Carnivora
    (pp. 75-116)

    The carnivores are a large and diverse order of mammals, of which many, but by no means all, are adapted to a flesh-eating diet. The single characteristic that unites the order is the presence of four carnassial teeth. These teeth, which are designed to shear through flesh, are the last premolars in the upper jaw and the first molars in the lower jaw. Aside from this anatomical feature, the carnivores are a hugely varied assemblage of mammals. They range in size from the WeaselMustela nivalisto the Polar BearUrsus maritimus;they are found from the Arctic to the...

  10. Chapter 6 The Cetaceans—Order Cetacea
    (pp. 117-144)

    There are 76 species of cetaceans worldwide with c. 13 species in Egyptian waters. However, due to the lack of fieldwork, further species may be recorded and certain records, such as that of the Sperm WhalePhyseter macrocephalus,while not unexpected, have not been fully documented.

    With the possible exception of the sirenians, the cetaceans are the mammals most completely adapted to life in the water. Just as the bats’ anatomy—internal and external—has evolved for life in the air, that of the cetaceans has evolved for life in the water. While they may bear a superficial resemblance to...

  11. Chapter 7 The Sirenians—Order Sirenia
    (pp. 145-148)

    Large marine and freshwater herbivores. Entirely aquatic with no external hind limbs and forelimbs adapted as flippers. Tail either rounded or fin-like. Confined to tropical and subtropical waters, with the exception of the extinct Steller’s Sea CowHydrodamalis gigas. Distinguished from most cetaceans by the lack of a dorsal fin. There are two families, the manatees (Trichechidae) and the Dugong (Dugongidae), of which only the latter is represented in Egypt. In Arabic, it is often known as‘Arus al-bahr.

    Single species, the DugongDugong dugon,for description of which see below.

    1 species with 1 found in Egypt.

    Dugong dugon...

  12. Chapter 8 The Odd-toed Ungulates—Order Perissodactyla
    (pp. 149-152)

    A small order of herbivorous mammals, formerly far more wide-xi-spread, of which three families survive today: the horses and donkeys (Equidae), the rhinoceroses (Rhinocerotidae), and the tapirs (Tapiridae). All are characterized by an odd number of toes, one in the equids and three in the other two families. Formerly, the Perissodactyla were far more widespread and an additional three families are known only from the fossil record.

    This family is characterized by the reduction of the digits on each foot to one, namely, the hoof. The basic form of the horse and donkey is too well-known to warrant elaboration.


  13. Chapter 9 The Hyraxes—Order Hyracoidea
    (pp. 153-156)

    See below for a description of this single family order.

    The hyraxes are a peculiar family. In general form, they look very much like large rodents—indeed, their family name means ‘before the guinea pigs.’ Their anatomy, particularly the foot structure, seemed to indicate a common relationship with the elephants and the sirenians but recent studies have demonstrated a closer relationship with the odd-toed ungulates. Whatever the relationship, the hyraxes as a group go back a long way. In the desert near Fayoum, fossils have been found that indicate that the ancestors of the modern hyraxes, many much larger than...

  14. Chapter 10 The Even-toed Ungulates—Order Artiodactyla
    (pp. 157-172)

    A large order of some 187 species that includes many familiar families such as the pigs (Suidae), cattle and allies (Bovidae), deer (Cervidae), and camels (Camelidae), as well as the less familiar peccaries (Tayassuidae) and chevrotains (Tragulidae). They range worldwide from the Musk OxOvibos moschatusand ReindeerRangifer tarandusof the high arctic to the HippopotamusHippopotamus amphibiousof the steamy tropics, the YakBos mutusof the towering Himalayas to the DromedaryCamelus dromedariusof the searing desert. This diverse array of mammals is connected by certain anatomical features, not least, an even number of toes on each...

  15. Chapter 11 The Rodents—Order Rodentia
    (pp. 173-230)

    With over 1,700 species currently recognized and new species still being described, the rodents make up the largest mammalian order. They occupy the entire range of habitats, from arid desert to dense rainforest, from artic snowfield to city center. Different species have become adapted to different lifestyles so that the rodents include the fossorial blesmols, the gliding anomalures, the aquatic beavers, the kangaroo-like Spring HarePedetes capensis, and a host of other forms. Yet, despite their omnipresence and apparent diversity, the rodents are a well-defined order. Their defining feature is their teeth, with two well-developed incisors in each jaw (the...

  16. Chapter 12 The Lagomorphs—Order Lagomorpha
    (pp. 231-234)

    There are 58 species of Lagomorphs worldwide of which 1 occurs in Egypt.

    The Lagomorpha, better known as the rabbits, hares, and pikas, is an order of mammals superficially similar to the rodents but which differs primarily on cranial characteristics; in particular, lagomorphs have four incisors in the upper jaw (although only two are functional) as opposed to two in the rodents. The order is divided into two families, the pikas (Ochotonidae), relatively short-eared lagom’orphs found in the mountainous regions of Asia and North America, which are not represented in Egypt, and the much more familiar rabbits and hares (Leporidae)...

  17. Order of Plates
    (pp. 235-308)
  18. Glossary
    (pp. 309-314)
  19. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 315-318)
  20. Index
    (pp. 319-322)