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What Happened to That Animal at Tembe? - Mystery Critter Revealed

Anonymous's picture
What Happened to That Animal at Tembe? - Mystery Critter Revealed

A recent event at Tembe Elephant Transfrontier Park, where one of our cameras is located near a waterhole, left us all wondering the same questions for quite awhile. “What kind of animal lay dead by the waterhole?”
After all our wondering and questions, it was confirmed to be a male Nyala, one of the many antelope species seen in South Africa. While watching his last moments, some felt helpless and full of emotion, while others reminded us that nature, when left to its own accord, takes care of itself. When viewing the live cams, we will occasionally see things that make us look with concentration and curiosity, and other times we will have to turn our heads and come back later.

That being said, what would cause the Nyala to go down, flounder around and take his last breath all within a very short time as seen in this video?

While the reason may never be known, one of the employees at Tembe, Lynda Revell, commented that there were no apparent injuries, he was thin for his size, and it quite possibly could have been a python that had wrapped himself around the Nyala, constricting with each breath the Nyala took until another breath wasn't possible.
How horrible you say? Why would we even talk about this? Our cams are here to not only entertain, but to allow people to learn with each sighting and adventure.
We did see Elephants pass by the carcass of the animal, pause and look. Were they just curious? Were they wondering why he didn't get up when they approached? Or did they know, as some believe, that the animal was dead and was due a little respect. Elephants have long been known for their sensitivity to their surroundings. Just as we wonder about the Nyala and his death, we wonder about the thoughts of the Elephants as they passed by...perhaps we'll never know either one.

If we learn any more information about the definitive cause of death of the nyala we will update this article and all of you right away.

Blackstar's picture

I agree with you-I thought

I agree with you-I thought for sure it had been bitten by a venomous snake or had a respiritory disease.

leecris's picture

Given that the nyala bull

Given that the nyala bull died so quickly, why is it assumed that it was a python rather than a venomous snake that killed it? When first noticed, it was down and agonal. Its manner of death was more consistent with death from a bite from a puff adder, black mamba, or cobra. A venomous snake bite probably would not have been visible if it was concealed beneath the animal's coat, nor would there have been much bleeding from it. The only large constrictor in this area, an African rock python, is maximum ~15 feet in length. It's difficult to imagine a rock python could have killed a nyala bull that quickly by constriction.

Some of us may remember a few years ago when a large African buffalo bull collapsed and died within view of the camera at Nkhoro Bush Lodge. That bull was in apparent respiratory distress before collapsing, so it was assumed that it died from tuberculosis. A number of other diseases, such as anthrax, or injestion of a poisonous plant might also cause sudden death.  When predators quickly consume any carcass, it's difficult to determine cause as some would require laboratory tests to identify.

shadowgypsy's picture

yes, a constrictor will kill

yes, a constrictor will kill just for the sake of killing, especially out of fear.

I have many boas and pythons, they will in fact bite and throw a coil out

especially out of self preservation and being startled.

IF said python did in fact bring down the nyala as suspeted(untrue)

it would have to be a snake of great size, 20 ft or better to be able to

injest such a large animal.


lori8288's picture

 An explanation begs


An explanation begs another question-one comment leads to another...


If, indeed, a python was able to bring down the antelope--why did he not stay to consume his catch?  A venemous snake might strike out in defense, but  would a constrictor asphyxiate out of fear?  Would the snake kill just to kill?

Although deep down I know it isn't true, I like to believe animals prey on each other out of necessity-  for food or self preservation.

Any  thoughts??


Blackstar's picture

Thank You Africam! My

Thank You Africam! My brother and I have been pondering on this forever it seems.


Thanks again,

Blackstar & Spiderleg

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