Safari is not about just the big cats and although we love to see these iconic predators, there are plenty of other equally cunning and ferocious hunters out in the savannah of the Selous.
It is quite normal to see bones and animal skulls whilst out on safari in the African savannah and that would lead us to believe that death occurs quite frequently, the reason for those deaths could be from natural causes or from predators hunting prey. In times of drought this happens more often, when lack of water and subsequently nutritious vegetation, means that the herbivores lose condition and start to become malnourished. This in turn makes them easier prey.
For example: could you imagine that such animals like a clan of hyena, whom we tend to think of as merely scavenging from the true hunters like lions, could actually take down something as big and powerful as an adult buffalo?
Because that is exactly what our resident hyena clan has been doing down in the Msine river this last week. This clan whom we know to number at least 25 are proving to be a formidable force and have successfully hunted 3 buffalo in this time. This goes a long way to supporting the fact that hyenas are actually more successful hunters than lion and that quite often other apex predators attempt to scavenge from the hyena instead of the other way around, as can be seen in one of these photos where three hyena are seeing off a crocodile whom was trying to steal from the hyena’s hard fought catch.
It’s not just the large mammals that are doing the hunting around here either, sometimes we are lucky enough to enjoy watching some of the smaller predators like birds doing what they do best. This week we got to watch this Lilac-breasted roller dealing with its centipede prey, hitting it repeatedly on a branch to nullify the venomous sting before swallowing it whole.
Some predators need great patience to successfully hunt. This red-necked falcon alighted in a tree, right next to where we were stood at a hippo pool. Seemingly unfazed by how close we were, it sat waiting and watching for doves to come down to drink. Although we did not get to see a successful hunt from this falcon, it is not often that you are afforded such a close up view of this beautiful raptor in the wild.
On the other side of the coin, where there is death there is also life and although it seems strange to think of a crocodile as cute, this is exactly what we felt when we spotted these little hatchlings whilst boating on Lake Tagalala this week.