There are lots of interesting snakes to be found in the bush. This morning we had a rather rare find of a Schlegal’s Beaked Blind Snake. These snakes tend to be seen after rain and during the summer months. This is the largest of the Blind Snakes found in southern Africa, is harmless to humans but is often confused with a Southern Stiletto Snake, which are very dangerous and causes immense pain and often necrosis to its victims. Schlegal’s Beaked Blind Snake has small dark eyes but does not use them as other species do as they live most of their lives underground. Their vision above ground is similar to that of a mole or shrew. The species can lay up to 60 eggs and varies in color from plain brown to blotched or striped. Their enemies include other snakes and their diet consists mostly of termites and their larvae.
Story by: Divan Vermaak-Kapama River Lodge Ranger
…..Lion cubs at play…..
Yesterday on the Evening safari we were lucky enough to come across the pride of lions, always an interesting event in anyone’s diary!
While watching the adult lions lying around and being Lions, we saw how the cubs were playing with each other and rolling around in the dirt, making a nuisance of themselves to the adults.
One may think that they are just playing with each other, but in actual fact there is a deeper meaning behind all the commotion.
These lion cubs are learning how their muscles work. They learn which way their bodies can twist and bend and obviously which way they cant! This “playful training” is all for the future when they are hunting those evasive impala or the powerful buffalo, “Speed” “Agility” and “Reaction Time” could mean the difference between having a meal or going hungry! And this they learn at a young age to give them the “edge” when they are older!
But, its not only lions that play in such a way, how do you think the “evasive impala” gets to be so “evasive”! All animals practise this kind of play to prepare them for a future in the possibly deadly African bush!
We will quite often stop at the sight of lions on a kill and one can not ignore the fact that they are quite aggressive during the feeding, not to long ago I had a case where one of the nine month old cubs actually struck at its mother over a peace of skin. This is not something you would often see in other species, so why are lions so aggressive?
Well it comes down the bare basics, food supplies the lion with energy and a chance of survival. So once a animal is caught it has to supply the whole pride with meat, one can imagine that if you have six lions and one impala that this is not possible for the impala is not big enough to supply them all with a descent meal. Then the survival instinct takes over and it comes down the survival of the fittest.
The level of aggression can relate to how hungry the lion is, the hungrier ones would fight harder for a pieces of meat than the ones that had a good meal the last time.
For the male, it is not about sharing, his theory is, it is mine and you will now wait until I am finished. So the male is the only individual that will have the sole right until his appetite is satisfied, if there are more than one male it that pride it will also result in aggressive behavior.
Kapama Main Lodge
Last night was one of the most fruitful nights for sightings. Several herds of buffalo were sighted, with my guests and I viewing several dozen lounging in the mud and quite a few brand new day-old, to two day old calves running around and chasing each other. The bird life is still abundant with multiple sightings of adult and juvenile Bateleur Eagles, European Bee-Eaters, Rollers, and a first for me…a Black Stork mixing it up with the buffalo in the dam. Many guests had great viewings of several of our white rhino along with our breeding herd of elephants putting on a thrilling show. As the sun settled down in a blaze of orange and red, guests across Kapama stopped for Sundowners, after which my guests and I were thrilled to happen upon our large male lion and our lone lioness with her two nine month old cubs laying in the road yawning, stretching and getting ready for a long night of hunting and playing. Several other vehicles received the same great visual of not only these lions, but our four sub-adult lionesses. Just before closing down, with a clear sky filled with brilliant stars, one of our lesser seen female leopards was spotted with two four month old cubs and right around the corner a clan of spotted hyenas with cubs in tow. Great sightings and another great night on Kapama!
Story by: Noelle Di Lorenzo-Kapama River Lodge ranger
We welcomed a group of Italian guests yesterday at Main lodge. On our first safari we encountered fresh lion tracks and followed. Soon the eagle eyes of my tracker, Respect spotted them next to a water hole, we were treated to an amazing sighting of the two females with the three cubs drinking water. The Lion’s bellies were straining at the seams so we were speculating on what they had killed?
On the afternoon safari we again encountered the lions but accompanied by the dominant male, he soon left the females and cubs to feed on his own stashed kill, an impala under a bush. On drinks stop close to where we found the females that morning we saw vultures nearby and investigated, what we found was the remains of an impala finished off by the lions, generally you don’t find lions preying on impala as a rule but they are opportunists by nature. The following morning we had a very brief sighting of a male leopard and also a huge black Mamba coiled in a tree, this snake is the most feared in Africa but on this day it was very relaxed.
Kapama Main Lodge