About the Author

Jess Shillaw

Guest contributor

Jess was born in Kwazulu/Natal but grew up in Cape Town. Having an innate love for all things wild but getting to spend little time in the bush while growing up, she headed straight for the Lowveld after school. She completed a guiding ...

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on Superpowers of the Bush

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Lovely blog Jess. I have just finished reading Hyena Nights, Kalahari Days by Gus Mills for the second time. Hyenas are fascinating animals. It is not just their sence of smell but also their hearing that is amazing. For me all the animals have got super powers to survive in the bush.

Thank you, Marinda! Yes hyenas are so well adapted to their environment! That is true, each animal has something unique to help them to survive!

Senior Digital Ranger

Good informative blog Jess. So enjoyed our recent drives with yourself and Richard, especially our up close and personal viewing of the Flat Rock Male – a fabulous memory.

Thank you, Jennifer! Yes it was so special! Hope to see you soon!

“I wish I were a firefly,
fireflies are never glum.
How can you be downhearted
when the sun shines out your b*m?”

Brilliant poem!

I believe in the wonder and seemingly supernatural powers of painted/wild dogs. One minute they’re relaxing, perhaps groggy from a nap and then their Mickey Mouse ears quiver and the adults are up and sprinting towards….? These are family oriented phenoms, led by the alpha male and female- other adults falling into line by an eye chilling glance, all the while the pups observing this behavior. Their sense of smell is so keen that a herd of impala a kilometer away is not safe from a surprise attack, members of the pack dividing and conquering. And so I nominate these dogs as having inate super powers- I’m always in awe watching them ….!

That is a really good power to nominate to wild dogs, thank you for sharing your belief! Their teamwork is what enables them to take down big prey that not one wild dog can take down by themselves. I also do love watching them, whether it be a heart raising chase or a relaxed sighting of them when you can get out your binoculars and really appreciate their painted patterns.

Digital Ranger

Great post, Jess. Very interesting facts. I actually met you informally in September during one of your daily treks on foot in Londolozi. I was on a game drive with Pete Thorpe and Bennet and we saw you along the road and stopped briefly to say hello. Glad to hear you made it through the tough Londolozi Ranger School. That’s a great achievement. Especially for a woman. I can say that because I’m a woman, too. CONGRATULATIONS!! Suzi Byrd

Thank you so much, Suzi! Hope to see you back at Londolozi!

Goodness Jess, what a interesting blog you’ve written! It’s good to be reminded of the amazing abilities of each of these animals! Just another reason to love wildlife and to continue to protect them!

Thank you, Joanne! I could not agree with you more!

Dear Jess, it is amazing and fascinating how you describe the “Super Powers” of these wonderful creatures. Although it is not my favorite I like Eagles a lot. When they see a storm coming they just fly over it. For me it is super natural how they fly and raise their young ones. For me they stand for power, stamina and great love. Maybe you can choose best which “Super Power” they have?! Thank you for your inspiring blog here. My best, Karl

Hi Karl, thanks for your lovely message. Eagles truly are remarkable birds and whenever I see one soaring high I am always struck with such envy as observing the world from up there must just put so much into perspective. Thanks for reading, Jess

Senior Digital Ranger

I don’t like hyena’s, but they have my respect because they are pretty smart and adapted to their environment. The leapord is an incredibly cool animal, because of the ability to be so inconspicuous and the power they have to take a large prey into a tree.

Senior Digital Ranger

A good story, by the way!

There are so many superpowers out there in Nature, from incredible strength to immaculate mimicry!

With regards to the fireflies, I recently learned from Blue Planet 2 that communication by light (bioluminesence and other forms) is the most common form of communication in the world, which is absolutely fascinating!

Hi Jess, I really enjoyed your blog and totally agree with you, that all of our animals big and small have an inate sense that protects them. I love all the African animals, but my heart melts with the ellies – especially the younguns. They are so “brave” and I just love to watch them trying to use their trunk. You are so fortunate to be doing something that you love. Congrats on becoming a ranger in the Londolozi family. Thanks for sharing with us.

Senior Digital Ranger

Thank you Jess for this very informative blog & the superpowers of these animals & insects mentioned. I personally love the fireflies & your picture of them is just so beautiful! 🙂

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