A sighting of a relaxed leopard is always very special, not only for our guests but also for any field guide who loves his work and the bush.
One up from this is watching a leopard with its kill – often impala or warthog are the victims, however sometimes leopards are more adventurous. And when the kill is a porcupine, it is even more special.
At The Bush House we had the good fortune of coming across a sighting like this recently where a male leopard managed to kill a porcupine which he had dug out of an old warthog burrow. Warthogs often utilise old antbear holes for refuge at night. When we arrived he had the porcupine well hidden in a buffalo thorn thicket.
With a bit of patience, we were able to see him emerge out of the thicket with his prized porcupine.
He then continued to remove the quills for a more comfortable feed, while relaxing in the shade of the buffalo thorn. It was quite interesting how he meticulously removed the quills before he started feeding. Leopards have to be very careful removing porcupine quills as, should they get several of these nasty spines stuck in their mouth, it could spell disaster for the animal as they could either succumb to infection or be unable to eat as a result of the position of the quills.
This is definitely not a sighting experienced by many bush enthusiasts or field guides. We all felt very privileged to be able to share this special moment.