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Floppy ear invites herself to breakfast!


Hi everyone!

What a brilliant way to spend the weekend, among our favourite spotted families!

We have been so privileged to watch Teddy, the hyena cub, drinking from his/her mother and having the 6 other cubs come and check us out so closely.

From what I have seen, the youngest out of the 6 we saw at the old hyena den off Phillamon’s cutline is no longer with us. The two oldest who were born around June 2010 to the female with 2 notches in her right ear are still noticeably larger then the rest of the youngsters there.

You may remember when we found the hyena den on Philamon’s cutline there were 6 cubs. The oldest 2 were drinking from floppy ear, the middle 2 from another female; but seemed fairly close in age to floppy ear’s 2. These 4 are still at the den on Zoe’s road and they are the ones we see a lot off. But when the clan moved I remember only seeing 1 of the very young cubs and now I don’t think the second is there either. I hope I am wrong but from what I have seen it seems to be the case.

Happily though the newest arrival, Teddy looks to be doing well and is starting to develop spots, this tiny bundle must be around 2 months old now!

Pulllllll! Teddy was being a bit rough on mum! 16 Sept

In fact it was because of the hyena Marc found Karula yesterday! We were on our way to check out the old hyena den off Phillamon’s cutline yesterday morning, when Marc saw the unmistakable silhouette of a leopard in a Marula tree. As we picked our way through the bush, we realised it was none other than Karula herself!

Karula tucking in!

She had hoisted the carcass of an impala ewe into the tree and was having her share before fetching the family! In the past we have seen her leave it to go and collect the cubs, so I wonder if she might have been extremely hungry!

The temperatures increased through out the day and as we pulled back into the sighting later in the afternoon it was clear she was hot and bothered, panting heavily as her meal was digesting. The carcass had made it’s way into the fork of the tree, no doubt with a little help from the cubs! Xivambalana was busying himself with it while his sister slept. Just as he was really getting his teeth into it, something caught his attention…Floppy ear, the matriarch hyena. There was some debate as to whether it was her or not, but from pictures taken a year ago, she has the slight pink on her nose and pink ear tip on her left ear. I have no doubt it is our old lady who has been in hiding!

Floppy ear matriarch hyena 17 Sept

She waited patiently but even when the cubs swapped positions, there was no tit bit until the following morning. Only the legs and a bit of meat remained, but as Xivindzi ate, each piece eventually slipped through her claws dropping to a perfectly positioned hyena below! A successful stake out!

Karula enjoying a decent meal! sept 17

Karula made her getaway just as the hyenas were dropping off to sleep, she leaped from the tree and hit the ground running. When she realised nobody had bothered pursuing her she stopped to look from behind the safety of the vehicle. It was only when a young hyena came in and followed her did she turn tail and disappear into the bush.

Xivambalana and Karula

For a long while the cubs were checking where she had gone, but Xivindzi settled down to snooze while Xivambalana was restless. He was trying to work out a way to leave without having the watchdogs on his heals! Eventually he chose what looked to be the most awkward route down and once on the ground, the hyenas didn’t even bat an eye lid as he scampered off to join his mother who was waiting for him out of sight!

Xivindzi making her getaway!

As soon as Xivindzi saw her mother, she too made the daring escape, to which floppy ear only lifted her head to see which direction the spotted felines went and decided it wasn’t worth wasting energy on so stayed put!

What a brilliant way to spend a Sunday morning!! Thank you to everyone sending in your wonderful screen captures to help make this Blog!

Written by Tara


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11 Responses to Floppy ear invites herself to breakfast!

  1. Debra September 18, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    Thanks Tara! Great synopsis of the events as they occurred. I’m so glad to have been able to be there to see it all happen.

    You all do such a wonderful job!

    Debra (Georgia, USA)

  2. Dorothy Pepper September 18, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

    Wonderful and exciting pictures! It’s interesting how you can recognize and name these wild animals!

    • Tara Pirie September 19, 2011 at 8:37 am #

      It helps us to follow their lives and understand the interactions we see on drive! What is even more interesting is we get to know their personalities too!

  3. UK_David September 18, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

    Pleased that Floppy Ear has turned up again, particularly after Marc found that skull the other day and thought it might have been a hyena.

    • Tara Pirie September 19, 2011 at 8:40 am #

      I was holding out it wasn’t her skull Marc found! It was a hyena skull though but whos it was I don’t know!

  4. Linda Revere (Pepperbird) September 18, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

    So well-written and observed, Tara! I smiled the whole way through it. Your goodness and intelligence are evident in every word!

  5. bobi baha September 18, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    great blog tara and spot on and thanks for taking time out to do this for us

  6. Joan Bloodgood September 18, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

    Wonderful news and the pictures captured everything we were able to see live.. The cubs were hysterical! Thanks for the fill in info…..BTW its not tit bit its are adorable… Thanks to everyone who makes this so much fun to watch…See you for the AM drive (12 M EST)….

  7. Kathy September 18, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

    It was a great site to see. So glad the cubs and Karula have had a good bite to eat. The cubs are really growing up. Thanks to Tara, Marc and Seb for the great job.

  8. Stuart September 19, 2011 at 5:11 am #

    What stunning photo’s!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Cheryl (Cheshill) September 19, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    Thank you, Tara, for this blog. The pictures are great and the updates wonderful for those who can not be on every drive. Keep it up!

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