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SafariSpy: Mission two
By Kat Holmes
At the end of January I took the SafariSpy camera to a game reserve in the Waterberg Mountains, in the Limpopo province of South Africa.
Having never placed a camera trap before I began a thorough search for animal paths around the campsite in which we were staying. It is a wonderful site which has no fences and allows the many herbivores living in the reserve free rein to wander past wide eyed campers. The summer rains made the search a bit tricky as the grass had grown long and lush, but eventually I found a used track hidden away from other campers.
While a wonderful variety of antelope visited the waterhole close to the campsite, sadly none decided to wander past the camera trap during the day or night. I suppose I learnt a lesson every new camera trapper learns: wildlife is just that, wild, and so does not always play ball. For me this only builds the anticipation for next time and makes me eager to get the trap out again as soon as possible. So, fingers crossed for mission 3!
Our favourite creature of the weekend was this dung beetle. I am sure it knew exactly where it was going as it rolled around the campsite pushing its dung ball with its back legs. It provided great entertainment and we were astonishment at its strength and perfect spherical creation. I am sure someone out there could identify this species but given there are 800 hundred different species of dung beetle in South Africa, I wouldn’t know where to start!
Dung beetle sits on top of its ball of dung. Image; Nick Monkhouse
Dung beetles vary in size from 5cm in length to a tiny 5mm. They all provide an important service of collecting herbivore dung and burying it for food, laying eggs on or even giving it to a female during courtship! I have become an expert at swerving around piles of dung left in the roads of nature reserves in order to protect these critters and the important role their play.
Dung beetle hard at work. Image; Nick Monkhouse
Stay tuned for more SafariSpy adventures; the next one is going to be a goodie, just wait and see…!