Secretive, creepy and crawly.

To many of the tourists in Kruger there is not a lot of interest in small mammals or reptiles other that a casual glance…how can they compete with leopards and elephants?  Of course, not being able to leave the vehicle one is only able to see what runs across the road or is within the confines of the protected camps.  Still, there were some interesting observations.

Insects: Not as many as I expected (at least not in the car or my room).  No mosquitoes on this trip (That was good because I left my anti-malaria medication in one of the first lodgings).

My favorite…the infamous dung beetle!

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A colorful locust.

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Lots of dragonflies at the ponds.

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And a 6 inch millipede.

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Reptiles: Crocodiles are fairly common in many of the waters, usually seen lying on the banks or floating in the water.

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There are lots of lizards here but we only found a few.

Chameleons change their colors from brown to bright yellow

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Tree Agama

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Water monitor

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Giant plated lizard

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Variable skink

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Striped skink

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Tortoises in the road and turtles in the streams and ponds…

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Small mammals:  Not a lot, but it included this rare sighting of an African wild cat (looks like your neighbor’s cat, huh!)

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A few fleeting glimpses of banded mongooses…

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An occasional black-backed jackal…

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But my biggest disappointment came when we saw the honey badger (ratal) symbiotically hunting with a jackal, a rare—once in a lifetime occurrence.  They were about a hundred yards from the road in a brushy/grassy area and were hunting for burrowing rodents (a similar activity has been reported in coyotes and badgers here in North America).  We watched for a few minutes until the others in my party got bored and, although the animals were working our way, they opted to go on and look for other things (more elephants?) while I could’ve spent the whole day just observing (but we wildlife biologists are weird!)  So, all I ended up with was a few grainy photos.  So sad!

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The birds begin with the next blog.

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