It is often easy to overlook the smaller things in life. The insects, arachnids and bugs that surround us tend to be forgotten in light of the larger, more impressive animals roaming throughout Londolozi.
It is with great fortune that the Londolozi rangers & trackers have had the privilege of learning from South Africa’s scorpion expert: Jonathan Leeming. Jonathan is one of South Africa’s foremost experts of scorpions and spiders and has recently written the book on this particular subject: ‘Scorpions of South Africa’.
Jonathan took the rangers digging, scratching and climbing for scorpions in various conducive areas in Londolozi. Finding 6 different species for examination, these creatures were discussed, handled and understood so that guests staying at Londolozi will be able too be able to gain a better understanding of scorpions. Jonathan also provided huge insight into how the scorpion fits into the broader eco-system of Londolozi.
As Jonathan writes: “Scorpions are very recognisable but few guests know much about them. Many have a conceptual idea about scorpions. The Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve is home to high populations of scorpions. With such a high abundance scorpions can play an important role within the guided experience.
I like to think that the outcomes of what I do includes increasing the knowledge of local scorpion species, fostering an appreciation and understanding, and to create a spark of enthusiasm that I hope will be carried through into the guided experience.
I consider my time spent at Londolozi fruitful in the way that all three objects have been accomplished. Not only were the field guides involved with the training but also the trackers, lodge staff and even guests. Time in the bush was spent examining prime scorpion habitats and targeting specific species. The lectures and presentations provided an opportunity to get up close and personal my beloved eight legged creepy crawlies. A “hands on” experience never to be forgotten!
High points during my visit included scorpion handling. Handling scorpions is often not even thought of but consider that many of the scorpion species have extremely weak venom; they can be handled with relative ease and in complete safety. To some of the field guide this was a totally new experience. Searching for scorpions using UV light was another high point. I’m sure that the guests at Londolozi will be privy to a few different kinds of sightings especially during night drives.”
A big thanks go to Jonathan for taking the time to share his knowledge and wisdom with the rangers of Londolozi. For more information regarding scorpions, visit Jonathan’s scorpion website.
Photographed by: Jonathan Leeming
Filmed and Written by: Rich Laburn