About the Author

James Tyrrell


James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...

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on Leopard Cub Plays With Scrub Hare

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When they become indepent they will probably not stay together as leopards are solitary? Will they have territories close together or is nature too unpredictable to speculate?

Hi Marinda,
Yes they will separate.
It often happens that female leopards establish territories next to their mothers, but it’s definitely too soon to tell…

A scrub hare is like an appetizer for one only. Nice story about the lack of predictability

Great story, James. I hope they make it to adulthood.

The bush never ceases to amaze and catch us off guard! I can see you grabbing your camera and hoping to capture this unexpected adventure. Well done, James. As to the 15 minute of playing with the poor hare …. cubs will be cubs. Lol.

So what happened to the Nhlanguleni female’s brother from that litter? – and did Tutlwa bring any other cubs to independence?

Hi Suzanne,
The brother was quite skittish and seen a few times after independence, then he dispersed, most likely into another reserve. Maybe the Kruger Park.
Sadly the Tutlwa female didn’t raise any other cubs to independence.

I feel your frustration! Predicting behavior, positioning as well as having correct camera settings and focus is tricky.

The sisters are looking quite healthy so it would seem they’re eating well. Is their mother still providing the bulk of their food? When she’s ready to cut them loose, does she just use leopard words to let them know they’re on their own? That’s always been fascinating to me –

Hi Denise, yes their mother is still bringing them to kills regularly.
When it’s time for them to move on, the mother simply stops going back to fetch them, and after a while they realise they had better start providing for themselves.
It’s a gradual process though, with the mother leaving them alone for longer and longer, anbd like in the sighting above they will be catching more and more of their own food between kills from her.
She will also gradually start acting more aggressively towards them at a kill site.

Since hare’s are so small, is it likely the leopard snapped it’s neck quickly as opposed to the typical slower suffocation of larger prey species? Not that you ever want any animal to be killed, but it seems there would be less suffering involved with such a small animal.

Hi Chelsea,
Yes it was over very quickly- from what I saw in the puff of dust and the speed at which it happend, it was imply a crushing bite to the neck or head and it was all over.

It’s enjoyable listening to the ranger “god parents” stories as they talk about the exploits of our growing family of leopard cubs and so enjoyable to hear when we can remember watching their early days. Although sadly not their to watch, but so thoroughly invoked in their growth.

Amazing sighting!!!

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10 April, 2798
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