Tag Archives: python

Python visits African wild dog den

Hi folks,

As you know, we try to always have camera traps at the wild dog dens in order to monitor what is going on from the time they first den down, to when they leave the den.  Usually, we get great information on which dogs are at the den, how many pups are in the litter when they first emerge, when they move or leave the dens and what else visits the den.

When the cameras were last checked at the Batanai Pack den however, we had a surprise – and not a good one – waiting for us.  We started to flick through the hundreds on photos on the card, and suddenly came across this:

Followed by this:

The first picture shows a python going into the den where the pups are, watched by a curious (and not very proactive!) wild dog… The second shows the python coming out of the den half an hour later (watched by the same, still somewhat non proactive wild dog), with a rather suspicious looking bulge near the front.

Unfortunately, the pups had not emerged prior to this incident, so we do not know how many were in the litter to start with.  The dogs left the den the following day, and we have yet to find them again, so we don’t know whether they are still denning (which would mean they still have at least some pups surviving) or whether they have abandoned denning altogether, which would mean the whole litter was killed.

As soon as we find them and get an update, I’ll let you know.  It’s certainly not the first time that pythons have killed wild dog pups in the dens but its the first time we’ve caught one in the act!





Pythons, Cheetahs and Guineafowl

Hi folks,

I’ve been lucky enough over the past couple of weeks to see some pretty special things, so I thought I’d diverge briefly from wild dogs and lions and post a few photos of other things I have seen recently.

This python is known to be about 3.5m long.  We found her sunning herself in a somewhat uncomfortable-looking position (!) when we were driving spoor surveys the other day.

python in the baobab


python head

Check out that forked tongue!

A few days before this, we’d been lucky enough to see a group of 5 cheetah on the road as we headed to the south of the Save Valley Conservancy very early one morning.  It looked like a mum and 4 subadult cubs.  Of course the first thing we saw was this:

cheetah bum

But then curiosity got the better of a couple of the youngsters and they stopped to watch us for a while.  Cheetahs are very rare in Save Valley, so this was a real treat for us.

cheetah pose

As was seeing these crested guinefowl, which we spotted on our last trip to Gonarezhou.  These are also very uncommon, and are wonderfully entertaining birds to watch!

crested guineafowl

crested guineafowl2

So, always a lot to be looking out for on our endless wild dog searches!