When it comes to wildlife, there’s no script. No dress-rehearsal. If you want to witness incredible wildlife behaviour, it’s often just a case of being fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time.
On a recent tour to Kruger National Park, head guide, Simon Vegter from Wild Wings Safaris, was lucky enough to score a hat-trick with witnessing kills (three kills on three consecutive trips). Only this time, he managed to capture the action on video.
What is so impressive to watch is the incredible skill, stealth and speed this apex hunter displays as it sets about ensuring its lunchtime meal. Warthogs are notoriously skittish and sneaking up on one is no mean feat. Notice how incredibly well-camouflaged the leopard is in the grass.
Unfortunately, there is some vehicle noise and the sound of a car’s hooter on the soundtrack, which was most likely a genuine mistake and quite unintentional as another vehicle quickly tried to manoeuvre into a better vantage point to watch the action.
The rest of the sound is all courtesy of one squealing warthog. Although, once the leopard had secured it in a deadly stranglehold its bloodcurdling screams were soon silenced. Efficient, quick and deadly.
Quick leopard facts:
-Leopards are members of the cat family (Felidae).
-Their scientific name is Panthera pardus.
-They are highly adaptable felines and can live in a range of habitats, from arid semi-desert conditions to tropical forest areas.
-They are the most numerous of Africa’s big cats, but seldom seen as they are shy and stealthy, and generally nocturnal.
-They are solitary by nature, unless they are mating or when they have cubs.
-They are territorial and will mark their territory with urine, faeces and by clawing trees.
-Leopards reach different sizes in different areas. In greater Kruger, males usually reach a shoulder height of up to 80cm and weigh from 45 – 90kg.
-Females are generally smaller, with a 55 – 70cm shoulder height and weighing between 30 – 60 kg.
-In the Western Cape, leopards are noticeably smaller with the male seldom exceeding 50kg.
-Their gestation period is roughly 105 days.
-Leopards have good maternal instincts and care for their cubs until they are about two years old or can safely fend for themselves.
-Leopards have been known to live up to 20 years old in the wild.