On a recent game drive from DumaTau Camp in northern Botswana we came across the Savuti Pride of lions, which consists of two sub-adult males, both approximately two years old, and an adult female which is their mother. While watching the pride, one of the young males started chewing on an acacia thorn tree branch.
Young lions are inquisitive by nature and have been observed playing with and chewing many things such as fallen branches, twigs, tortoise shells and even elephant dung. Lions of all ages have also on occasion seen eating grass thought to be ingested as an aid to help settle upset stomachs.
What made this sighting particularly unusual is that it is uncommon to see a lion chewing on a branch covered in thorns. As the photograph clearly shows, the youngster was clearly finding a mouth full of thorns distinctly unappetising!
And from Tubu Hide we have this report:
The hide on Hunda Island is proving to be alluring to our resident leopards. At the beginning of this year there was a special sighting of a big male leopard relaxing on the hide. Several months later it has happened again!
As guests were driving up to the hide they stopped to look at a Hamerkop bird nest when a guest spotted one of Tubu’s young leopards up on the hide. He was strutting his stuff, claiming to be the prince of the hide.
It was quite special; however it was only the start of the sighting. The young leopard watched the safari vehicle pull up a little closer and then decided to investigate the vehicle. The guide stopped and as they watched, the leopard came down from the hide and slowly walked towards the game viewer checking out one side before coming in front and to the driver’s tire. He rubbed up against it and posed for a nice picture before heading off.
It was quite ironic as this hide was constructed to observe wildlife from it, not in or on it! The guests were left sitting with their mouths wide open, but this special sighting didn’t stop there. As they followed the young leopard, he lead them to his mother and sister. The mother was out of breath from taking down an impala, and our youngster proceeded to feed with the family.