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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Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

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?

James Tyrrell

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…

Andrew and Daniel Bolnick
Digital Tracker

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

Joan Schmiidt
Master Tracker

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

Joanne Wadsworth Kelley
Master Tracker

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.

Suzanne Gibson
Guest contributor

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

James Tyrrell

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.

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

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 –

James Tyrrell

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.

Chelsea Allard
Master Tracker

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.

James Tyrrell

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.

Bob and Lucie Fjeldstad
Guest contributor

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.

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

Amazing sighting!!!

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10 April, 2798
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