Last night we were lucky enough to find a large male leopard – we followed him as he chased and killed a warthog. He ate his fill and then slept peacefully nearby. The solitary leopard is extremely difficult to spot in the wild. It is renowned for its sharp vision and keen sense of hearing, and for its unique ability to avoid detection . On this morning’s drive we went back to the site of the kill and relocated the leopard, but to our surprise and delight we discovered that he had been joined by a female leopard.
We kept our distance for a while to see what would transpire, and were rewarded with a mating show right in front of the vehicle. To witness leopards mating is a once in a lifetime experience. Leopards are solitary and only come together to mate. Male and female leopards come together to breed for only 6-7 days when the female is in heat. After mating, the male returns to his territory, leaving the female to give birth and care for the young alone. The birth takes place in a hidden lair after a gestation period of 3 months. So we hope that the mating was a success and that we may be lucky enough to see some young cubs in the not too distant future.
Also in the lodge today, some guests came across two male Boomslangs (snakes) fighting over a female who were eagerly watching them from a short distance away. Not something you see every day! The name “Boomlang” derives from the Afrikaans language, meaning Tree Snake (Boom -Tree) (Slang – Snake) . The Boomslang is predominantly arboreal and is a very placid snake. They are back fanged snakes and biting any surface bigger than a finger or side of the hand will most likely only result in a “dry bite” as the fangs are to far back in the mouth to actually pierce the skin. They do however have a Haemotoxic venom and are considered the snakes with the most dangerous venom in Africa. Luckily for us they will only bite if provoked and / or handled, and poses no threat to humans otherwise.
Story by: Sarah Sangste-Kapama River Lodge Ranger