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.
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.
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!
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.