This short story is one that will give you an idea of what animals think of us and how they react to us in different situations.

We set off on our morning safari, our aim being to find our Moria pride of lions who occupy a large territory in the South-eastern and central parts of the reserve. It consists of three young but mature females, who are quite large and adept hunters, three cubs and a young male – his father, being the dominant male of the area, does not approve of his son who is no longer welcome.

Nevertheless, we found fresh tracks heading South from a well-used pan, ironically called Lion Pan. With my tracker concentrating on the tracks and me babbling on to him about whether or not all seven lion’s tracks were present, we were distracted and missed an interesting scene occurring on our left hand side. One of the guests let out a yelp of excitement, which I thought was a sneeze. To my surprise, as I looked in her direction, I saw four lions and a porcupine on top of a termite mound having a face-off.

The porcupine was not to be beaten, it seemed, until our presence was made, when he immediately retired into his home (a hole in the termite mound). This means that a porcupine would rather argue with four grown killing machines than put up with a ranger and a vehicle of interested guests who just want to capture the moment.

Porcupines are considered nocturnal animals that prefer to forage under the cover of darkness and return to their homes before the sun rises. However, in areas where there is no drought and they are not disturbed, they may forage into the morning. If the porcupine has young, it will not be long after birth before the parents will allow the young to forage with them.

This is when we realized where the cubs were and that they were occupying themselves with and this is why the father porcupine was so angry with the lions – they had killed and partially eaten one of his babies (the quills being too small and some too soft to do any real harm to the attackers). Still, the porcupine defended his home from these four persistent and hungry lions but left as soon as our presence was known.

So, we can conclude that, however intimidating lions can be, we are even more feared than the king of big cats.


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