Scrub Hare #441

Daily painting  #441 pen, ink and watercolour postcard for the postcard art group NFS

The night drive last night was absolutely fantastic!! We had a Zulu game ranger who entertained us with some of his cultures traditional ideas and he had an incredible knowledge of the bush veld and the animals. I know this southern part of the Kruger so well and know every little dirt road but entering the bush at night is such a completely disorientating experience. The intense darkness is almost indescribable other than to say it is claustrophobic as ones eyes just do not adjust at all....the pitch black seems to envelope you and every little sound seems magnified! As one sense is rendered useless, the other senses become intensified so sound and smell overwhelm you!
We shared the vehicle with some American tourists who were visiting South Africa and on their first Safari and first night ride experience. It was great to see their delight in every animal they saw (even Impala), we get so used to seeing some animals that we take seeing them for granted. It was interesting to see hippo feeding at night so far away from the water...they are actually South Africa's most dangerous animals in that they have killed more people per year than any other animal....and they are herbivores...herbivores with a quick temper! We saw prickly porcupines with their quills hanging at all angles like they are having a bad hair day. We saw civet, genet, white tailed mongoose and a range of other nocturnal animals. Sadly we didn't come across a pride of lions lying in the road...they often lie on the road at night because the surface of the road retains some of the heat from the day, and sadly no jackal or wild dog but we did come across 2 packs of hyena! One pack was stalking along the road looking really creepy at night and the second pack were scuttling around an area at the edge of the road in a dip. The ranger told us they had a den on the side of the road and one of the females had just given birth to a litter of pups so they were probably guarding the den. I didn't need any convincing to steer clear. We saw so much and I won't bore you by telling you about each one but I do want to share with you the little Scrub Hare.
It is a common hare and breeds abundantly in the bush as it is very often on the dinner menu of a
large variety of predators. However in an attempt to fend off predators the hare has been blessed with speed and the habit of running in a zig zag pattern to try slow down its larger predators. It has not however been blessed with any cleverness or cunning and last night we landed up with one in front of the Land rover and he clearly thought he was being chased by the largest predator ever! Rather than moving out of the road and into the bush (the vehicle was moving very slowly) it proceeded to hop in front of us in a crazy zig zag pattern thinking it could throw this huge predator off. The rangers top priority is to ensure that all the animals are safe...no shining spot lights directly into their eyes or scaring them for example, so he decided to cut the front vehicle lights and spot lights off. He thought this might scare the Hare less and it would hopefully move off the road and into the bush. The rangers other priority is obviously to keep all of his passengers safe so when he cut the lights to the bellows of one of the American tourists (who was clearly also experiencing the 'bush darkness' for the first time) he almost lost a couple of passengers from sheer fright! He thought better of it (a heart attack in the bush at night at least an hour away from civilization is not a good idea) and he quickly put the lights back on, to the relief of many! We waited for the Hare to move off which of course it did but as I said yesterday the bush teaches you patience...and a whole new respect for the dark! What a hive of activity there is at night, no wonder in the heat of the day most animals are sleeping off the bush party from the night before!
We arrived home at about 11.30 pm with 2 very tired but happy children so today has been a restful day. A chance in the heat of the day to sleep off our bush adventures from the night before.

Purchase paintings at Heidi Shedlock Fine Art

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...