For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Country Cottage

It is wonderful to have a country cottage, to be able to wake up with the smells of the dew on the grass and at night to see the millions of stars twinkle in the sky and hear the sound of the owls.
It is small and has a thatched roof which makes it cool in summer for our high temperatures.I have a small front yard with my bird feeders on the side. In the mornings, I put on a thick gown, take my coffee outside and watch the birds come down to feed. They have got used to me in this short while I have been here and I can get with 10 yards of them now.

My backyard is 9 hectares of wild bush so I have plenty of space to roam around doing some macro photography of all the tiny creatures found here. It is going into winter right now, so there is not much around, but come summer, I will never have to go anywhere as everything I need for a relaxing holiday is right here, including a swimming pool. At the bottom of the area there is a small stream with some lovely rocks nearby to sit on to watch the activity there.
It gets dark early, 6pm, and the sun sets are beautiful.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lions - Part 1

They have exceptionally rough tongues, and even at an early age are able to take the skin off your hand by licking it.
The females leave the pride to give birth and will not rejoin them until the cubs are about six weeks old. Litters average 2-4 cubs.
This is a white lion cub. It is neither an albino nor a separate species.
Although they do drink water regularly, they are not dependent on it as they derived their moisture from their food.
The lion, leopard and tiger have an elastic unossified hyoidean complex which allows the larynx a freedom of movement not found in other cats, which is bony. This permits them to utter much louder vocalizations, which, in the case of the lion, can be heard for long distances in the stillness of the night.
Lions are the largest of the African carnivores, the males standing up to four and a half feet at shoulder height.
When mating, the pair will leave the pride and go off by themselves. Copulation occurs about every twenty minutes for about two or three days, until the male is sure she has conceived.
The mane of the lion is there to protect his neck and throat during a fight. In some of the older males, this mane turns almost black in color. Maneless males have been known.
In certain areas, giraffe make up a large percentage of their food supply, then buffalo. Because of its size, the whole pride can eat and they do not have to hunt again for the next two or three days. They are opportunistic feeders and will also kill anything from ostrich and zebra to elephants.
Most people do not know that ALL wild cats are spotted. Some adults retain their rosettes spots on their flanks and underbellies, but it is mostly seen on the young.
Lion mainly become man-eaters after they have been kicked out of the pride due to illness or old age, and are unable to hunt successfully for themselves.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Small Spotted Genet

I am sorry but this is the only picture I have ever been able to get of this lovely cat.

The small spotted genet, or common genet, is a small cat-like mammal. From head to tail, the small spotted genet is approximately 40 in (100cm) in length, and weighs around 2-7 lbs (1-3 kg.). The medium to short length coat can be found in shades from tan to gray. The coat is spotted with small black spots formed in rows. These spots may be located close together and form what looks like solid lines. Each genet has a unique pattern. The tail is ringed, and makes up approximately half of the total body length. The face of Genetta genetta is slightly elongated. The muzzle is black, ringed with white around mouth and eye area. The eyes are large and round and face forward. They have short stout legs and large ears. When frightened or excited, small spotted genets are able to erect a mane of hair along their neck and back. Genets have 5 digits per foot and the soles of each foot is furred. Like a cat’s the claws are retractile. Like all Viverids, small spotted genets have anal scent glands used for marking and as a predator deterrent.