Two big kudu bulls with impressive horns. The tough Rock Monitor
We have had a great deal to talk about with all the activity at the waterholes and the accompanying photos and videos that have been submitted. I just remembered this photo I saw early last week of these big kudu bulls at EP, and felt that I had to mention them as they are two very fine specimens, and I don’t know when we will see the likes of such as these again. They both have an exquisite set of horns.
In saying this, with all the luck and excellent sightings we’ve been having, I wouldn’t be too surprised if we do see some other kudu just as big, or even bigger, in the weeks to come. This is one of the few instances when I don’t mind if I have to “stick my foot in it”. Here is the photo of those two magnificent kudu:
The other picture which I remember seeing from early last week is of a rock monitor. I had to mention this as you really don’t see these every day. This stout lizard can reach a length of 1.75 metres. It has strong, stocky limbs and sharp claws- I can wholeheartedly agree with this as I tried to pull one out of a tunnel by its tail and it didn’t budge!!! It also lives in disused animal burrows, a hole in a tree or a rock crack, and in termite mounds. It is usually solitary and hibernates, semi-dormant in its retreat in winter. The diet consists mainly of invertebrates (millipedes, beetles, grasshoppers, land snails) although it will kill and eat anything it can overcome, and also scavenges on carrion; baby tortoises are frequently eaten. In defence, it takes a side-on posture and lashes with its tail. It will bite and hold on like a bulldog- Ive heard proof of this from experiences of other people. Monitors are not poisonous (the closely related North American Gila monster and Mexican beaded lizard are) but they do contain large amounts of bacteria in their mouths. If held behind the head it usually ejects its cloacal contents, i.e defecates- for first time handlers who don’t know to watch out for this, it can end up being an extremely smelly and messy affair (had a lot of laughs over this when I was guiding).
The martial eagle and honey badger are the main predators of adults.
All Varanids/Monitors in southern Africa are protected by provincial legislation, CITES Appendix 11.
Other monitors are not so fortunate as hundreds of thousands are slaughtered each year in the name of fashion for their skins.
Below is the photo of the Rock Monitor at a distance:
Thank-you to everyone for taking the wonderful pictures and videos.
Cheers for now