Shockingly cool today at 66F, 19C, a welcomed relief…Smart pigs…Wildebeest newborn photos…

Please zoom in to see newborn wildebeests with umbilical cords still hanging, indicating they were born most recently.

What a refreshing break after weeks of sweltering temperatures! Even Frank and The Misses feathers were all fluffed up when they arrived at the screen door, wondering when they’d get some seeds. I jumped up from the sofa in the lounge room and immediately placed the little container filled with seeds onto the veranda floor.

We can’t leave the seeds out since warthogs, bushbucks and kudus will come onto the veranda and wipe out the container. Each day, we bring them indoors when Frank is done, returning them to the usual spot when Frank and The Misses stand at the door, looking inside for us.

Wildebeest is nursing her newborn. Female wildebeests have horns, as do the males.

They are less afraid of me than they are of Tom. When I go out with the seeds, they barely move until I set them down. They step back or even off the veranda when Tom does this until he sets them down. It’s incredible how the wildlife can determine our gender by looking at us. Most animals will stay in place while I offer pellets, while many step back when Tom does so.

The exception to that is the bushbucks. They feel safe around Tom much more than me. This may be because he arises earlier than me and may spend two additional hours each early morning greeting them before I come outdoors. Then, of course, there are the warthogs, and they are more welcoming to me than Tom. Even Little steps back when he sees Tom but not when he sees me.

The newborn wastes no time in beginning to suckle.

Undoubtedly, Little’s reaction to Tom may be warranted when he doesn’t talk to them in a high-pitched loving voice as I do. He isn’t a big fan of warthogs when they chase away the various species of antelope when pellets are around. Animals have a keen sense of who likes them and who doesn’t.

Although we have about a dozen helmeted guinea fowl that live in and around our garden, we don’t have any relationship with them. They don’t seem too bright, never make eye contact, and don’t respond to our voices. However, they come out of the bush when they’re nearby when they hear me calling warthogs. They’ve learned that my animated voice means pellets which they swallow whole. I guess a certain degree of intellect is required to make that association.

There were two moms with newborns, both with umbilical cords still attached.

Of course, my love of warthogs is entirely based on their intellect and responsiveness. Considered the fifth most intelligent land animal on the planet, smarter than dogs, it’s no wonder I am frequently talking and interacting with them. They do respond, no less so and perhaps more, than your dog would when you interact with them.

Besides the usual “sit, stay, and heel.” When they came indoors on a rainy, muddy, or snowy day, they even learned to “wipe their feet, get a treat!” It was hard to believe unless you saw them do this and dozens of other behaviors they learned.

For a moment, based on this photo, we wondered if this mom did, in fact, have twins, which is quite unusual for blu wildebeests.

Of course, in today’s world with YouTube and social media, we see videos of dogs performing various actions that leave us in awe with our mouths agape. Is it any wonder that as a dog lover I’d be immensely attracted to pigs (thus, warthogs) while we revel in the joys of bush living?

No, I don’t try to teach warthogs “tricks.” But, I find it easy to impact their behavior simply by tossing pellets and talking to them while looking into their beady little eyes. The connection with them is palpable.

Mom was quite protective of her newborn, preventing us from clear shots. Finally, we hurried off to see what else we could find.

There are thousands of websites that provide detailed information on the intellect of pigs, including warthogs. I won’t bore you with those links. But, perhaps these observations may make it clearer to our readers why I am so attached to the warthogs in Marloth Park.

We’re off to Komatipoort to the Spar Market to grocery shop. Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard is bare, but we won’t be buying much with all of the power outages. As it turns out, we won’t go to Jabula until tomorrow evening. They have a group of 18 who will be hanging around the bar before they’re eventually seated for dinner. Dawn knew we wouldn’t want to be in such proximity to other people, so she let us know. We changed our reservation for Saturday evening.

Have a great day!

Photo from one year ago today, December 17, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #269. Most of the town is centered around seaport enterprises. For more photos, please click here.

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