Who’s tops in animal Olympic contest?

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animal olympic INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS The cheetah makes even Usain Bolt look slow. Picture: Michael Walker

Cape Town - The human world is rightly celebrating the outstanding achievements of athletes like Chad le Clos, Bradley Wiggins and, probably, Usain Bolt at the Olympics.

So the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has used the opportunity to issue a gentle reminder that people aren’t the only species capable of amazing sporting feats.

Yes, we all know that the cheetah can make Bolt, pictured, look slow by reaching its top speed of perhaps as much as 114km/h, but what about the Common Froghopper (Philaenus spumarius) that’s a probable high jump winner as it can jump 115 times its own height?

And in the gymnastics events, the graceful Agile Gibbon (Hylobates agilis) and dancing birds-of-paradise would wow us with their moves, says the union.

It’s also offered these potential gold medal winners:

l Archery – Smallscale Archerfish (Toxotes microlepis) that shoot down flying insects or insects on branches, as well as other small animals, with water shot from their specialised mouths.

l Boxing – European Hare (Lepus europaeus) whose mating season peaks in spring during a time called “March Madness”. Females choose their partners according to their strength by “boxing” with them, when females and males stand on their hind legs and hit each other with their paws.

l Shotput – Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus), also known as a Bearded Vulture and often seen in the Drakensberg, is one of the largest of the old-world vultures. It wins the prize for shot put because it drops large bones from great heights in order to shatter them and eat the nutritious marrow inside.

l

Weightlifting – Rhinoceros Beetle (Xyloryctes thestalus) is able to carry loads of more than 30 times its body mass and is among the strongest animals on earth. In comparison, the heaviest individual weight lifted by a human in an Olympic competition was 263.5kg by Hossein Rezazadeh, a weight of about one-and-a-half times his own body weight and equivalent to lifting four average-sized people. - Cape Argus

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