Catching and Releasing a Mozambique Spitting Cobra!

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Well, a lot of you got it right! (see previous blog

I use these goggles when catching or releasing spitting snakes (or if I do know which snake I might encounter). In this case I caught a Mozambique Spitting Cobra (in Zulu:Mfezi) which had strayed into a room at Thanda house late at night.  Today I released it onto another part of the reserve.

This collage of images shows the release of the snake. Thanks to Warren Beets for taking the pictures (I could not take any myself – I was busy :-))

PS: I will add a GoPro camera to my equipment set so I can record these sort of procedures on video – from my view-point.

Be prepared?

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It looks like a silly picture, but I was preparing for something serious!

What was I preparing for? Have a guess?

I will blog the answer this evening 🙂

Picture by Warren Beets

My first week!

From Thanda’s dominant male Lions point of view …

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“It was a hard first week, but what a place! As soon as they let me out of the boma – which was pretty nice, by the way, with full room service and everything – the Thanda Lion ladies were most hospitable…

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… The first three days I spent with the most experienced female of the North pride and when she left I was pretty exhausted …

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… From time to time these strange rolling animals with lots of round eyes came by. One can’t eat them so I just ignore them …

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… On Thursday a younger Lion lady showed up and she was very forthcoming. But I was just too tired. Maybe next week …

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… I was just “lion” around when another of these large animals with the round eyes came by – it must like me!  It followed me for a while …

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… when I heard another male roaring. I decided to investigate. The funny animal was still following me ?:-)

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… I showed it how to sharpen my claws – just in case! …

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… and then the strange animal almost got stuck in the muddy ground – which gave me quite a scare – Now it is gone and I will have a little rest – what a first week!”

This is a “record” of the new male Lion’s first week at Thanda Private Game Reserve, observed by many Thanda guests (sitting in the strange rolling animals with the round eyes :-).

“Time Lapse” Collages

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These are two “time-lapse” collages made from various images of a camera trap.

This small camera is installed at a small waterhole in the western part of Thanda.

We have identified many different species drinking at day and at night (including Lion, Hyena, Nyala, Zebra, Kudu, Impala, Warthog, Giraffe, Wildebeest, Elephant).

The camera trap will stay in place for a little while longer – we may catch more Thanda residents having a drink!

Kings and Queens!

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This is a picture of the departure of future kings and queens from a Termite hill. As the rainy season starts “winged alates” leave the Termite cast communities to meet with possible kings or queens from other Termite hills to form a new society.

Termite live in a cast society where every member gets “assigned” its role in life before birth. The workers and warrior Termites cannot reproduce. But here they fulfill one of their their major roles in life to ensure that the “reproductives” (or winged alates) can leave the community unharmed to procreate the species.

These winged Termites can only start reproducing once they found a partner and after they have dropped their wings. Once underground the females abdomen will swell to become a huge “egg-laying-machine”, also called the queen of the Termite community.

If one looks carefully at the center of the picture one can see a winged alate coming up through a hole in the ground (with its wings still tucked in).

The Thanda guests were most impressed with this “micro sighting”.

Strange Encounter!

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At the small waterhole in front of Thanda’s Villa iZulu a Spotted Hyena and a journey of Southern Giraffe met and interacted for almost an hour. This image shows Bheki in between the actors in this early morning drama. 

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… The Hyena had come to the waterhole when the Giraffe interrupted its morning drink…

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… It moved off when the tallest land mammals came in to have their drink …

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… But not far – at one time the carnivore ventured almost to “kicking distance” …

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… We left after watching this scene for almost an hour – On the way back to Thanda’s  Safari Lodge we ran into an Elephant road block. The matriarch was having an eye on us while we followed the herd slowly until they made their way through the bush to another waterhole. What a morning!

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What a welcome! When the boma gates were opened yesterday morning it was not the new dominant male coming out to look at his new home. No, it was the oldest female of the North Pride walking into the boma and immediately initiating mating behavior.

They walked out together and started mating procedures. As Lions mate over several days (in short frequencies between 20 minutes and an hour) we found them this evening still engaged in the process.

What a welcome for the new “man on the block”!

See also yesterday’s blog message

Thanda Lion News!

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To maintain a healthy Lions gene pool and to control the number of Lions on Thanda, five of these magnificent cats have been moved to a new section of the reserve (called the Mduna Royal Reserve). The two adult females, two cubs and the dominant male will form a new pride in an area which had no Lions until now.

A film crew from the UK ( recorded the capture and transfer of these Lions to the Mduna. In this image the Lions were still sedated as the Thanda Wildlife Team and the attending Veterinarian performed a “physical check” on each Lion.

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One day after this re-location procedure Thanda’s new dominant male was release onto Thanda. Only a few hours after his release he started mating with one of the females, who was waiting for him outside the boma 🙂  see previous blog from 16 October:

If you are interested to actively participate and contribute in Thanda conservation activities please contact for more information.

Family Bath!

20131011 - CS1_1143 - E - SIGThis small Elephant enjoyed his bath with the family – while climbing on the back of one of his cousins. At the end of a hot day there is nothing better than splashing around in a waterhole.

The Thanda guests enjoyed this very entertaining sighting!

BIRDS – Crowned Lapwing – Watch the Eggs!

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At the afternoon drink stop we spotted this Crowned Lapwing watching over its nest. We kept quite a distance not to disturb the bird further and a few seconds after this shot was taken the parent went back to sit on the eggs while the Thanda guest had their drinks at sundown.

For the photographers among you: This images is a “collage” of two shots. One was focused on the eggs and one on the bird. The “dual planes of focus” are accomplished by merging the two images.