A most exciting trail cam photo!!!…

Last night’s trail cam photos picked up this porcupine! The prospect of getting this photo prompted us to purchase the trail cam. We are so excited to see this!

Each night since we received the trail cam a week ago, we have been hopeful that somehow one night, it would take a photo of the porcupine that Tom has seen six times and me, once. When I got up after Tom, I asked the new question I’ve been asking him each morning, “Did you look at the trail cam photos? Anything exciting, honey?” He’s said each day, “Nothing unusual.” This morning he said, “You’ll have to see for yourself.” It was at that moment I knew. The porcupine showed up in the trail cam photos. I couldn’t shower and get dressed quickly enough.

Holding my breath, I inserted the card reader with the camera data card into my laptop fresh cup of coffee in hand, and quickly scrolled through the photos to find the photo above. No, it’s not as clear as we would have liked. I did my best editing it a little to enhance the image. But, in the dark, at night, it was the best photo the trail cam could get. Nonetheless, we’re thrilled. Apparently, this porcupine may be a regular in our garden, based on how many times Tom has seen it. In the past month, collectively, we’ve seen it seven times. Sure, there’s a possibility it could be more than one porcupine, but most likely it’s the same one over and over. Porcupines are not territorial as per this statement:

“Social system – Porcupines are solitary during much of their lives. Exceptions occur during the winter when as many as 12 may den communally, and during courtship. Porcupines are not territorial, although an individual may drive others from a tree in which it is feeding during the winter.”

Warthog’s wiry hair on their backs stands up when confronted and during mating activities.

Facts about porcupines from this site:

“Porcupines are large, slow-moving rodents with sharp quills on their backs. They are found on every continent except Antarctica. Scientists group porcupines into two groups: Old World porcupines, which are found in Africa, Europe, and Asia; and New World porcupines, which are found in North, Central, and South America. The North American porcupine is the only species found in the United States and Canada.

Sharp quills

All porcupines have a few traits in common. The most obvious trait is the long, sharp quills that cover their bodies. According to National Geographic, some quills can get up to a foot (30 centimeters) long, like those on Africa’s crested porcupine. 

Porcupines use the quills as a defense. They may shake them, which makes them rattle, as a warning to potential predators. If that doesn’t work, they may charge backward into the predator. According to the Animal Diversity Web, the quills are loosely attached, but cannot be thrown or projected. Some quills have scales or barbs that make them very hard to remove. Once a quill is lost, it isn’t lost forever. They grow back over time. A North American porcupine can have 30,000 or more quills, according to National Geographic.

One Tusk,  in his full glory, ready to protect “his tnew erritory,” our garden in Marloth Park.

Size

The largest porcupine is the North African crested porcupine. It grows up to 36 inches (90 centimeters) long. The smallest is the Bahia hairy dwarf porcupine. It grows up to 15 inches (38 cm) long. Porcupines weigh 2.5 to 77 lbs. (1.2 to 35 kilograms), depending on species, and their tails can grow up to 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm).”

When and if we’ll ever get a daylight photo of a porcupine remains to be seen. We’ll continue to check out the trail cam photos every day to see what other treasures we can see that enter the garden in the evening. With winter approaching and darkness falling earlier each evening, we look forward to many more exciting trail cam photos, along with the photos we take daily from the veranda and when driving in the park.

There are glands around the warthog’s eyes that produce a secretion during mating seasons and social interactions.

Next week, when the 10 day school holiday period ends and it’s no longer necessary to make an appointment to enter, we’ll be heading back to Kruger National Park for more stunning wildlife sightings which we look forward to sharing here. Our permanent Wild Card (year-long entrance pass) has arrived and we’re chomping at the bit to get back out there.

Tonight, we’re heading to Jabula for dinner with dear friends Linda and Ken who are here in Marloth Park right now. It’s been several weeks since they’ve been here and we have plenty of catching up to do!

Have a pleasant weekend filled with exciting surprises!

Photo from one year ago today, April 30, 2020:

Female lions lounging in the shade, re-posted one year ago while in lockdown in India. For more photos, please click here.

Finally, I saw it!!!…Last night’s outstanding visitor…

Handsome male impala.

Sure, I wish I could have taken a photo of last night’s porcupine. Tom was doing the dishes while I was in the bedroom setting up a show for us to stream when quietly, he opened the bedroom door and signaled to me to follow him. He’d happened to peer out the sliding door with the garden light on, to see if any visitors were in the garden in the dark and spotted the porcupine for the fifth time.

Once our night vision trail cam arrives, we will be able to share photos of our visiting porcupine. We wondered why she starts out in the same spot each time Tom has seen her, realizing it was a place next to the edge of the veranda where we often leave seeds for Frank and The Misses.

A medical clinic opened up this month in Marloth Park, ideal for emergency treatments.

When searching online for porcupine sources of food, we discovered the following:

“In the winter, they primarily eat evergreen needles and the inner bark of trees, often feeding heavily on a single tree causing damage or death to the tree. In the spring and summer, porcupines shift to eating berries, seeds, grasses, leaves, roots, and stems.”

Apparently, the seeds we left for Frank at night have attracted her and are the reason she’s returned time and again. Tom has kept a watchful eye out for her since his first of five sightings beginning a few months ago, hoping to be able to show her to me. Last night was indeed a treat for me.

A creek running through Marloth Park.

I was totally in awe of what my eyes beheld. She had her quills fully extended and she was much larger than I’d anticipated. She disappeared into the bush in a matter of seconds with no time for me to prepare the camera for a nighttime shot. Thus, we’re awfully excited about the prospect of the trail cam arriving in the next month or two.

As for yesterday, I had the wonderful treat of a long conversation on Facebook Messenger with my dear friend Karen, who’s now moved to her fabulous home in Florida from Minnesota. It was Karen and Rich with whom we stayed when visiting Minnesota in 2019. We rarely stay with anyone while traveling, but it’s been so comfortable staying with them, we didn’t hesitate to do so again.

At some point in the future, we’ll visit them in Florida, although they are planning to visit us here in Marloth Park sometime in the next year when the timing is right when international travel eases a bit. We plan to move into one of Louise’s larger houses for the almost three weeks they plan to be here. (Our current house is too small for four adults).  It’s not worth coming all this way, halfway around the world, for a short stay.

The Marloth Park Water Treatment Plant.

Tomorrow, Tom will take the little rental car to the Marlothi shopping center’s car wash for a thorough cleaning, both inside and out, which car rental companies require in South Africa before returning vehicles, or an additional charge will be imposed.  On Friday, we’ll return the car to the Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger Airport to collect another vehicle for the next 82 days.

It’s about a 75-minute drive each way. After we collect the car we plan to stop in Malelane on the return drive to do our grocery shopping at the fantastic Spar Market, which is packed with goodies for our way of eating. It will be a fun outing. Next week after the traffic lessens in Kruger National Park, we’ll head to the park for a much-anticipated self-drive in search of amazing wildlife and lunch at the popular Mugg & Bean in Lower Sabie. We can hardly wait. The Easter crowds are gradually diminishing with less and less traffic in Marloth Park.

A lovely animal on the side of the road.

Following is a video we found on Facebook with a kudu attacking a man who got too close to the massive mature male. The animals we love so much are wild and it’s never safe to attempt to touch them or get too close. I hope this video comes up for you. Please see here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/377035355798904/permalink/1901623916673366/

Have a fantastic day.

Photo from one year ago today, April 7, 2020:

Actually, this is the only health food store, Healthy Hut, within a half-hour drive from our holiday home in Kauai, Hawaii in 2015. The inventory was ripe with fresh, locally grown organic produce, grass-fed meats, free-range chickens and eggs, and food and health supplies one would find in a much larger location in a big city. Pricey? Yep! For the full story from six years ago today, please click here. For the year-ago post, please click here.