26 March 2010

No News Like Otter News

I have been very busy at work lately... With that said, it's high time for some camera trapping updates :)

After work today I went to Tygerberg to check up on my cameras. I was surprised to find the Bushnell Trophy Cam still running. It is still using its second set of batteries since I bought it. I'm very impressed, especially after all those thousands of bird pictures it took at the pond.

I got some good activity at the cameras recently. I am especially excited about the video I got today of two Cape Clawless Otters passing by the camera at night earlier this week. I have been hoping to photograph an otter for a while but I didn't find any evidence of them or a Marsh Mongoose at Kirstenbosch. At Tygerberg I encountered a Marsh Mongoose a few times, but this is my first time photographing an otter(s).

I recently started noticing otter-like scats near the new locations for the cameras, but I wasn't 100% sure that the scats are actually from an otter. Even if I was suspecting the presence of otters I still wanted to confirm it. It could have been the scats from the odd individual passing through the area (wondering or dispersing).

Video: Cape Clawless Otters (Groototters) checking out the camera while walking down the little stream towards the dam

Well, from the video it appears that these two otters are very much at home and in good condition. This lets me think that they are the local resident pair and have been around (and will stay around) for a while.

The habitat preferences of Cape Clawless Otters are rivers, marshes, dams, dry river beds with ponds and tidal zones, however they can sometimes be found many kilometers from water. Fresh water crabs are a big part of their food, but they also eat fish, frogs, crayfish, small mammals, birds and insects.

Otters checking out the camera

I hope to see a lot more of these otters in the coming months, but I suspect I might start turning my attention towards Common Duiker soon. It is the one antelope believed to be present on the reserve that I haven't yet manage to photograph...


  1. Congratulations on the otter pictures. 10 attaboys for that. I know where they are in my neighborhood, but there are too many people and dog-walkers about to risk setting a camera trap.

    Get a marsh mongoose! I love those guys ever since keeping a mother and a youngster that were born in captivity. They are a bit homely, but very charming members of their family. If you use some hens eggs you might get them doing their egg-breaking routine

  2. It must have been very interisting living with a mongoose :)

    I'm still waiting for a good picture/video of a Marsh Mongoose. My best photo thus far has been the one at the pond (which I posted previously).

    There is another Marsh Mongoose that uses the same path as these otters near the dam, but I always get only the last half of its body in the frame. I think I'll try a different angle next time...