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In what was a remarkable feat of spotting, Rupert from Mask Expeditions discovered this sleeping hyena concealed in the bushes. He is a trained guide with years of experience, but even so….
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About ten minutes later Kenny stopped the vehicle so we could take a look at this pair of cranes, but we soon noticed something else in the background, almost submerged in the water. This hippo then wandered out of the river and off into the distance, presumably after some juicy grass.
What Killed Europe's Hyenas?
We drove deeper into the reserve and while passing through the marshy floodplains our progress was being noted by this beautiful Red Lechwe. The sheer size of these hippos is daunting enough — the fact that they can outrun a human is further reason not to get too close. After lunch we bumped into one of my favourite animals, the warthog. Warthog are at their weirdest when eating grass. In what appears to be an oversight from nature they have short necks but quite long necks, meaning that they have to kneel down to feed. They have adapted by developing special kneepads for this purpose.
Members of the pig family, they can move fast; if necessary they can run at speeds of up to 55 km an hour. You will often see warthogs with birds on their backs; a mutually beneficial agreement through which the birds eat parasites that live on their bodies. We then met another vehicle on our drive and the guide and driver told us that wild dog had been seen in the area. It was more likely that we would see them later in the day when they prefer to hunt, but we pushed on to see if we could find any tracks.
Sure enough, Kenny soon found the evidence and it appeared that the pack was working an area near the river where we had seen the crocodile. We decided to return later to see if we got lucky — the African wild dog is an endangered species and one that most safari-goers have high on their list — myself included.
But it was time to escape the heat now so we left the reserve and headed back to the lodge for a rest — and to watch another herd in the water.
In case you were wondering, Namibian beer is very popular in Botswana Windhoek being the capital of Namibia. Around we climbed aboard our trusty Toyota once more for the final proper game drive of our Botswana safari. The plan was to spend the time searching for wild dog and then enjoy a sundowner at, er, sundown before returning to the lodge. With the light perfect as it often as at this time of the day we drove along the river once more, pausing to photograph a majestic fish eagle in a tree on the Moremi side of the water. Entering the area where the wild dog had been seen, we soon found that word had got around.
Two other vehicles were also on the hunt, and we swapped information and tips each time we met.
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After circling around a thick wooded area it became clear that the dogs were hunting and being followed by hyena. We saw the latter on a number of occasions and heard the former, but seemed to just miss them each time. We realised that today was not going to be our day, but it was fun trying and is always good to have a goal for the next safari…it was also wonderful to see hyena so close, too.
We made for the river and cracked open the gin to toast the end of an all-too-brief but absolutely fantastic safari in Botswana — and were rewarded with a spectacular sunset. After packing up and heading back to the lodge in the darkness it was time for dinner and to reflect on our experiences in Botswana.
Males are submissive to all females and to the dominant female's offspring.
Meet The Man Who Lives With Hyenas
Reproduction: Breeding occurs once a year with the alpha female having a gestation period of days and then giving birth to 1 or 2 cubs that are totally black in colour. The Spotted Hyena female has genital organs that resemble that of the male thus making these animals hard to sex at first glance. Lifespan: 25 years in the wild and up to 40 years in captivity.
The massive powerful jaws can crush bones, teeth, hooves and horns and can exert pressures of up to kg per sq inch. The Spotted Hyena is more closely related to cats than dogs. This is a bit of a misnomer, as a " gizzard " actually refers to a digestive organ of birds and a few other creatures. There are only four living species of Hyenas, all grouped under the Family Hyaenidae.
They are dog-like creatures, but are actually more closely related to cats than dogs. Hyenas have a sloping back, large rounded ears, somewhat long legs, and are usually have dark spots or stripes on a light background. They are pack animals. Some Hyena species are hunters, while others are scavengers, The Aardwolf specializes in eating insects.
ISBN 13: 9780749305642
All four hyena species are endemic to Africa, while the Striped Hyena also occurs in the Middle East. There are no hyenas in Scandinavia. However, historical Viking trading routes may have touched upon hyena territory.