Exciting moments in the bush

Exciting moments in the bush

This image was taken pre-COVID-19. 

BY: Brandon Eckelberry

Camp manager blogs are written by our students who each get a chance to lead and manage a group (of their fellow students) for a period of one week.

My week as camp manager included some awesome sightings. To start, we had staff from the Hoedspruit Reptile Centre give us a presentation on snakes and other reptiles. 

 

A Bushwise student holds a snake.

 

I got to help dissect the carcass of an olive grass snake. It was really cool to see the inside of the snake, and while we were dissecting it, we discovered a skink’s tail in its stomach! If that sounds a bit gruesome, not to worry; the skink might have released its tail and most likely escaped the snake attack. 

As we examined further down the snake’s body, we discovered that it had experienced a blunt force injury, like something stepping on it. The organs near the snake’s tail were fatally damaged. 

 

A bush snake spotted on the Bushwise campus.

 

When we were done with the dissection, the trainer brought out live snakes. He had three snakes with him: a puff adder, a boomslang and a snouted cobra.

But that wasn’t the end of the week’s wild experiences. The next thing I found exciting was spotting a leopard on campus, not once, but twice in three days! 

The first sighting was about 10:30 at night. I was coming back to campus with fellow students Tilly, Megan and Mathew. As we drew closer, we spotted a female leopard on the road. We watched, with a flashlight, as it moved slowly into the bush, and it watched us for a good 10 minutes, too! 

 

As a Bushwise student you will go on many sightings during your course.

 

On the second sighting, a few of us were outside on the porch when we heard a duiker cry out. We knew it had been attacked. One of the students, Spencer, has a trail camera. So a few of us walked down to spot the kill and set up the camera. Within 30 minutes, a leopard came and took the duiker into the thicket.

I had a good time as camp manager and learned a lot from the experience. I’m excited to see how much more I can still learn. 

Want to have a wild bush experience like Brandon? Get in touch with us.