Wednesday, July 28, 2021

It's the little things

Out here, we have a lot of time to appreciate the little things in life... a hot, indoor shower after 3.5 months of cold showers, the first post-supply trip breakfast with avocado toast, eggs, sausages, AND cheese, the first mile on a paved road after off-roading through the Maasai Mara for months at a time... After over a year out here, I can guarantee you that I will never take a hot shower for granted again.
After mainly focusing on the Big Five while my visitors were here, this week has been incredible for small predator sightings:
Does a hyena cub count as a small predator? Probably not, but I wanted to include this little guy anyways. After months of waiting, we're finally seeing black cubs at the communal dens again :) ROUG, from South, has two small cubs right now (COLR and PNCL) and LANC, from Happy Zebra, has one cub (LAVA). RUMG, from Happy Zebra, has also been spending a suspicious amount of time in/near the den hole, so I have been keeping a close eye on her in case a black head or two pops up out of the den. Hopefully this is just the beginning of a little baby boom: THLS and SAVY, both from Happy Zebra, and RANG, from South, could possibly have cubs as well. Both THLS and SAVY have been spending a lot of time at the den, groaning and pasting (scent-marking) throughout the obs sessions. We generally witness this type of behavior right before moms will bring their new cubs to the communal den. RANG showed up to the South communal den for the first time this year (that I’ve observed at least) last night with very prominent nipples, a good indicator that she may also be nursing right now.

*Full names: ROUG – Moulin Rouge; COLR – Lip Color; PNCL – Brow Pencil; LANC – Lance; LAVA – Laevatein; RUMG – Why is the Rum Gone; THLS – Toothless; SAVY – Savvy; RANG - Rangsang  

My visitors and I saw this serval pouncing around the grass in Happy Zebra territory earlier this week. We immediately stopped and turned off the car to quietly watch it successfully hunt a little mouse. Very fun!
This jackal was nice enough to carry a tired thomson’s gazelle around South territory yesterday morning. 
Another beautiful serval sighting in Happy Zebra territory this week – I tried to use my hyena IDing skills to see if this is the same serval as from above, but the spot patterns are different, so I’m assuming it’s another individual. Any serval experts out there?
Jackals have been providing a great taxi service out here lately – this one was carrying a coqui francolin around Happy Zebra territory over the weekend.
Banded mongooses often come through camp to forage on insects, so I’m always a little surprised when I see them with bigger prey.
Another successful mongoose from the same group as the one above.
Bonus: Puff Adder spotted on one of the main roads in Happy Zebra this morning – these are a lot cooler to see when they’re not hanging out right next to our toilet. 


redstoneprime said...

Is it true that spotted hyenas are the second largest mammalian predator in Africa after lions?

Jana Woerner said...

Hmm, I think leopards are slightly bigger/heavier on average.

redstoneprime said...

Thanks, Jana. I've always heard that hyenas are slightly bigger (although which one's bigger could vary between different areas, of course).

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