|We knew we had to be very cautious not only for our safety but for his as well. If we startled him or told him to get down, he could have broken a leg on the slippery tiles. Instead, we tossed pellets on the ground near the bottom of the steps.|
“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”
|Zebras are full of expression and seem to pose for the camera.|
So far, we’ve had two bales of lucerne delivered, and today we arranged for more over the next month. Each was gone in a matter of hours. At a cost of ZAR 145 ($10.13), it’s not as if we plan to order one each day. The cost would be prohibitive because we’re already buying many bags of pellets each week and giant bags of carrots and apples.
|We were busy working on our laptops and didn’t realize what was happening until we saw this zebra climbing up the veranda steps.|
I must admit I have developed calluses on my right hand from the way I hold the big kitchen knife when I cut many carrots and apples into small bite-sized pieces each day.
When I started cutting the produce, and we were visited by many small bushbucks and duikers, and now many youngsters, I realized the pieces had to be small enough for the smaller animals to avoid choking. They are so hungry, and they devour what’s in front of them, not considering if a piece of fruit or veg is too big to handle.
|We didn’t have any food, pellets, or lucerne on the veranda. What inspired him to climb up the slippery tile steps baffles us. We did nothing to encourage this.|
Everyone can enjoy small pieces, although animals such as zebras are known to eat an entire whole carrot. However, we don’t offer them that way. We try to spread what we have among all visitors considering their safety, health, and well-being.
|We didn’t think it was a familiarity situation since we don’t see zebras more than a few times a week.|
As mentioned in yesterday’s post (please check it out to see some cute photos) regarding our decision to provide some lucerne along with the pellets and produce, we can’t possibly give enough food for any one of the animal’s daily needs during this dry season as they struggle to find nourishment.
|Just like that, he was on the veranda. The only reason we think this happened is that many residents feed the zebras on their verandas. This one doing so may have been a normal course of action.|
Today, when I stopped at Daisy’s Den while Tom was getting a haircut, owner Mark explained the lucerne was selling like crazy. Many other residents, like us, are very concerned about the welfare of Marloth Park’s wildlife.
And although it’s rained a few times in the past week, it’s nowhere near enough to make a difference at this point. So much more is needed and the prospects over the next week don’t look too good based on the weather report.
|We gave him time to fulfill his curiosity, talking softly and with confidence.|
Keeping in mind these stressful and trying times for the wildlife, it’s not surprising that both “Little” (warthog) and the zebra have climbed the steps to the veranda. They see us tossing food out to them, and when we took a break, they came looking. Smart animals.
Fortunately, we know better than to overreact during these situations. Staying back, giving them space, and talking in soft, gentle tones, appears to keep them feeling calm and unthreatened. A single nudge from a warthog or kick from a zebra could be life-threatening, and we don’t take that risk lightly.
|It was a shock to see him on the veranda, but we appreciated the photo op!|
And regardless of how familiar we may have become with many of the magnificent animals, we always remember these are wild animals, not pets. Never once have either of us attempted to “pet” or touch them, nor will we.
|He looked around for food. When he didn’t find any and heard the pellets being tossed to the ground beyond the steps, he gingerly lumbered down the steps.|
Even Frank and The Mrs., our resident francolin (bird) couple, can be feisty when we’ve seen them go after warthogs and kudus when they feel the birdseed we toss is threatened. We take nothing for granted.
|He let out a loud whinny and took off for the pellets we tendered at the bottom of the steps. It was quite a pleasant visit, one we’ll never forget.|
We’re cautious around the horned antelopes, including Big Daddies (kudus with massive horns) and Willie, our resident wildebeest. We’ve never fed them by hand! We quickly see how they use those horns to make their presence known. The male kudus often tap the ground with their massive horns to let whoever is in their way know they are fierce and dangerous.
|The baby wasn’t interested in eating solid food quite yet, avoiding the lucerne and the pellets.|
The only animals we feel safe getting real close to are the female bushbucks (no horns), who get scared away each time they try to eat when other animals are around. The girls and the duikers (who are very skittish) are often left behind.
|She stood off to the side while the adults devoured the lucerne.|
As a result, we often stand next to the female bushbucks protecting them while they eat. Many are nursing moms, and they too need lots of nourishment along with all the others.
|Mark, the owner of Daisy’s Den, explained, “Once the zebras show up, they’ll eat until the lucerne is gone.” That’s exactly what they did.|
Last night we had an enjoyable evening when Rita and Gerhard came for dinner. We made entirely low carb, high fat, moderate protein meal which they both seemed to enjoy. We all cleaned our plates, leaving nothing behind, while the conversation, as always, was lively and entertaining.
|Mom stopped eating so the baby could suckle.|
We’re staying in tonight. The weather is warming up again after a few days of reprieve. Our aircon in the bedroom has been repaired, and we’re set to take it on. Summer in Africa is hot, hot, hot!
Be safe. Be happy.
Photo from one year ago today, December 12, 2017:
|The giant Sentados Frente del Mar statue in Puerto Montt, Chile, is often criticized for its unattractiveness. We found it to be humorous and charming. Note the size of the figure by comparing me standing at her feet. For more photos, please click here.|