I don’t care who you are, the pressure is on to go to the next task immediately. What happened to the days of hanging out in the hammock all afternoon?
– Josh Brolin
A yellow mongoose is scanning its environment in Rietvlei Nature Reserve. Very happy with this sighting, we had never seen them there!
A mother zebra and her young, in the early morning light against a black background. What a nice family portrait! (If I may say so myself…)
From three months old, leopard cubs start to accompany their mother on the hunt. This one, though, was left to fend for itself during the day while his mother was… what? Hunting? Going to work? Shopping? I don’t know. At the end of the day he grew restless and tried his luck on some guinea fowls, who laughed at his attempts to catch them. There are a lot of skills a young leopard has to learn. They often do not leave their mothers until they are a year or a year and a half old. Some may even stay for longer than that.
A small baby elephant crosses the road, chewing on a stick. Maybe his teeth are coming through? Actually, elephants are born with four small molars, which they will lose when they are about two years old. Unlike humans, who have milk teeth first and then change to their final set of teeth, elephants change their teeth troughout live. A long-living elephant goes through six sets of molars that replace the teeth that become worn out by chewing grasses and trees. The loss of their final set of teeth is a major cause of death among aged elephants.
A young cheetah looks back over its shoulder. Cheetahs are weaned at the age of six months, but usually stay with their mother for some time after that. After 17 to 20 months, the mother can have another litter, so that often marks the end of the time of the youngster with the mother. Although young cheetahs from as young as six months go after hares or young antilopes, they often are only able to bring down a kill on their own when they’re 15 months or older. The odds for cheetah cubs to survive into adulthood are not so good. Lions are major predators of juveniles. This particular young cheetah was left to fend for itself for just one day when it was killed by predators…