Caveman Shopper Showstopper

joanstewart @joanstewart
· April 2019 · 6 min read · South Africa · #photography

Highly Inquisitive Baboon Daily Shopping Mall

Baboons have learned humans are an easy target, stealing food is an easier life to finding roots and berries. When warned to lock windows and doors, be on the watch out for Chacma baboon or Cape baboon (English), bobbejaan (Afrikaans), imfene (IsiXhosa)... take note.. Being out of your natural environment, never a dull moment!

Family of baboons swoop down daily from lofty mountain ledge, Scar as I called the big male baboon caused havoc, quietly appearing most mornings he would take a path around all the cottages looking to gain entry for a quick "shopping spree". The big guy obviously knows how to fight seeing the wound on his back leg!

Bulk of family would approach more cautiously, definitely not as brazen as Scar, first photo quiet time with obviously latest baby displaying normal behaviour foraging food. The baboons would come and go at odd times of the day, I noticed early morning Scar did his patrol more often than not on his own.

Lunch time and early afternoon the whole family would come through, thank goodness baboons sleep at night! Staff at the resort said to close and lock everything when going out, baboons knew how to slide glass doors open, evident in our kitchen where special baboon proof burglar bars had been put in the wooden frame was broken so leaving "protected" windows open was not an option.

Baboons Fairways Southern Drakensberg

Family of baboons at 14h00 foraging on the lawn about 20 meters away. Photo f/6.9 1/250 sec ISO-800 - Canon PowerShot SX730 HS

Even being in the home did not stop Scar sneaking in behind your back to take food, our neighbours for the week had him come in over lunch time when people were in and out of the kitchen, he made off with hot-cross buns and a loaf of bread, not afraid to take a chance in getting what he wants.

Best to keep windows/doors properly locked even when you are home, we introduced the problem into the area with our waste, now humans need to learn how to accommodate the natural residents by avoiding conflict. Male adult baboons have 5 cm long canine teeth, a dog like head, weighing in around 40 kg's, not something cute and cuddly from close up.

Baboon - Scar

Photo 14h05 f/6.9 1/200 sec ISO-640 - Canon PowerShot SX730 HS

Baboon Mum and Baby are very cute to watch moving around together, warning grunts, screams and alarm barks would alert her to any danger, troop normally moves together during the day, sleep together on cliffs, in caves here in the mountains.

Baboons

Photo 14h06 f/6.9 1/200 sec ISO-640 - Canon PowerShot SX730 HS

Finding a way into cottages, most of the resort cottages have local thatch now clad with tiles over the top, a few remain to be covered, here is the baboon doing what most would not believe, finding a way in!

Baboon

Time 08h12- f/5.6 1/20 sec ISO-80 - Canon PowerShot SX730 HS

Signs have been put up requesting guests not to feed, this is becoming something one is seeing in more and more places where humans and animals share the same space.

No feeding wildlife

Self-service on fruit juice in the morning, not quite something you anticipated, no matter how careful you are about leaving something to entice wildlife, they are watching.

Black-eyed bulbul


Snakes Alive

With recent rain the snakes came out, never seen so many in the space of one week, have the utmost respect for these slithering reptiles. Arriving at the end of summer I mentioned why to use a walking stick, hitting the bush you will alert a snake to your approaching, much safer to sound a warning.

First snake encountered I think is a Yellow bellied sand snake photographed up on of the hills, most snakes are not dangerous. (Photograph taken by my husband).

Yellow bellied sand snake

Time 11h53 - f/10 1/160 sec ISO-100 - Canon EOS 500D

Sitting out after dinner noticed this lovely little Red-lipped Herald snake quietly moving on the patio about ten centemeters away from my foot, needless to say I had to photograph this pretty little snake.

Red-lipped Heraldl

Photograph 19h51. f/5.6 1/80 sec ISO-800 - Canon PowerShot SX730 HS

Very brave when you know the snake is harmless!

Red-lipped herald snake

Taken at 09h52 trying to hide away between the pole and building. f/5.6 1/60 sec ISO-800 - Canon PowerShot SX730 HS

My brother and his wife went in search of the Hidden Valley finding the walk difficult, losing direction for a short while before being set on the right path by rangers. Using a walking stick cannot be emphasized enough (yes we may use it for more than bush whacking, it really is needed)!

Walking along the path this Rhinkhals raised itself out of the grass, with the walking stick having alerted it via noise and vibration. Now this is a spitting snake, not one I would ever like to encounter when out hiking. My brother did his best to capture to identify snake, excuse shaky hand.

Rinkhals (Hemachatus haemachatus)

Rinkhals is a related member of the cobra family that have the ability to shoot venom from their fangs usually aiming for a person's face. They are generally brown to brown-black on the top with irregular spotting/banding in lighter browns or creams. They have a dark belly with two lighter stripes around the neck. They are generally about 1.2 meters long. They can spray their venom up to 2, 5 meters.

Rinkhals are normally active at night but will bask in the sun during the day. They prefer to live in wet grasslands and can be found at high altitudes. They occur in the Southern Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State and parts of KwaZulu-Natal.

Bites from the Rinkhals are rare as most predators and threats are put off by them spraying venom in their eyes. Local swelling occurs at the site of the bite. They usually spray their venom in a person's eyes and this can cause temporary or permanent blindness. If you get sprayed with venom in the eyes wash the poison out with lots of water and seek medical help. If you are bitten, bandage the affected area and seek medical help. The bites are rarely fatal. Source: http://www.nature-reserve.co.za/dangerous-snakes.html

Rinkhals

Photo was taken 09h59 f/8 1/250 sec ISO-100 - Nikon D3200
Snake Rinkhals

So we come to an end of slithering and in-house shopping, walking stick moments, nature sharing the good, the better and the best, whether we like it or not...


Thanks for joining me the first part of the story began with Life's Road Trips Like Human Wings
Day 1 Supporting @steemitworldmap How Green Was My Valley
Day 2 Natural Wonders of the Drakensberg South Africa

I want to thank @tattoodjay for hosting WednesdayWalk and @ace108 for hosting WalkWithMe!! Two great reasons to share nature!


Thought for Today: Patience can cook a stone. ~ African proverb

@joanstewart



Communities I Support: #qurator #steemitbloggers #teamsouthafrica #steembuilder

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Topics: PHOTOGRAPHYANIMALSTHELUVBUGTEAMSOUTHAFRICA

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