We headed out at first light, amazed at the beauty of this morning sunrise. It was a red horizon that stretched as far as the imagination can extend. Draped with stratus clouds signifying another spectacular day. I was accompanied by a return couple Simon and Jessica who I believe travel with a big bag of extra luck which they happily share. Also a special thank you to them.
We were heading to Lake Manze, yesterday Salumn encountered a lion that just killed a young hippo .It will take some doing to get a young hippo isolated from its mother .Adult hippo are not easily intimidated especially from a single lion, however this young hippo has been caught. A young hippo should feed a lion for around two to three days with this in mind we set our course. The drive had barely started and we encountered the first intricacy of the morning a Variegated Wolf Snake (Lycophidion variegatum). After suffering a few probes and prods in the name of science and ensuring a positive ID I let him go unharmed and fully liberated.
As we arrived in the area the lion was seen there was no sign of neither of the lion or its kill. We drove a bit further and doubled back and came across a lioness where we had just past. Bush trickery at its best, they are so well camouflaged in the golden yellow hues of grass I must have missed her, but where is the Lion? With the thought still on my lips she made a peculiar growl that is not neither aggressive nor passive, she is in heat. She strutted long limbed into a little thicket no more than fifteen feet away and he appeared WOW!!! He followed her into the open and with her side to side gestures and a few swats of her tail they mated. This puts new meaning to breakfast and a show.
Lions breed year-round and are polygamous. It is estimated that lions copulate 2,000 times for every cub that survives over one year. One oestrus out of every 5 results in a litter and lions mate approximately 2.2 to 4 times per hour for the 4 day oestrus period. One to six cubs are born after a 3.5 month gestation period. There is a birth interval of approximately twenty to thirty months. Newborn cubs weigh 1 to 2 kg. Eyes typically open by 11 days; cubs can walk by 15 days and are able to run by 1 month of age. Mother lions keep their cubs in hiding until they reach about 8 weeks of age. The cubs are weaned between 7 and 10 months, however they are dependent upon adults in the pride until they are at least 18 months old.
As for the baby hippo it was dragged into the bushes behind them where they were lying. Truly a memorable morning