05 January 2013

Caracals at Candlelight

I'm just back from the Woody Cape and the gamble with the cameras payed off! First up is the familiar (at least on this blog) profile of a Caracal.

Caracal (Rooikat - Caracal caracal) walking down the hiking trail in the Woody Cape thickets

Caracal are by no means scarce and seems to be camera trapped quite frequently in many places in South Africa. However, I haven't photographed many at the Woody Cape, and this is the first one I've photographed in this area of the Woody Cape - the thickets next to Cannon Rocks.

I placed the camera trap looking directly across the trail. The Cuddeback cameras have a wonderfully fast trigger speed and a very narrow detection zone making this setup the easiest and most effective.

My camera trap mounted to one of the trees

About two weeks later the same animal walked down the trail again. Caracals aren't easy to uniquely identify, but I've used the stripes on the insides of their legs in the past with reasonable success, so I'm pretty sure this is the same individual.

Looking a little sulky compared to the first image?

This was the first time we were able to take our dogs with us and I just can't resist slipping in some photographs of them. This one of Scout was taken by the camera trap when we went to fetch the camera. She's a "rescue dog" and we've had her for about 9 months now. She really turned out well and was having a blast the entire trip.

Our domestic dog (Hond - Canis lupus familiaris) aptly named Scout

You might think she is looking in the wrong direction, but after reviewing the photos from this camera I noticed that she is actually looking down a small path that is occasionally used by the animals to join up with the mail trail.


  1. That's a beautiful cat Henry! Hopefully 2013 will produce many more.

  2. Hi Henry, I have been following your blog for sometime now,and really enjoy the sightings that you have. I want to purchase a camera trap as well. Where will i be able to get a Cuddeback in SA, and would you suggest that i get a Bushnell or Cuddeback as a first camera?


  3. Hi Roelof
    The old Cuddeback Capture cameras were great, but the newer Cuddeback Attack cameras are terrible and I won't recommend them to anybody! I've also heard worse things from the newest Cuddeback Ambush... Unfortunately I don't know where to get an old Capture, otherwise I would have bought one myself :(
    In general the Bushnell cameras are good quality with good battery life, detection and trigger speeds. The day time images are good but you need to be aware of the pros and cons of the IR flash.
    I have links on the sidebar of my blog to two stores where I've bought cameras from.
    I would suggest getting a Bushnell because of its ease of use, good detection, small size, battery life and the night time videos are fun. I haven't used the HD models and recently saw that they are different (bigger, etc.) to the old models. I have a smaller 2009 and 2011 models.
    Hope that helps :)

  4. Thanks Henry,

    It helps a lot. I will start my shopping around to see what i can get.

  5. Hi Henry, you're blog is very interesting and your pictures are great - thanks! I'm currently doing my honours project on rodent pollination in proteas and I've been looking at getting a camera trap to hopefully capture this behaviour. However a lot of the camera traps that I've looked at say that there close up resolution is not very good and that the pictures may be blurry. Another worry is that the rodents may be too small to set off the trap altogether. Do you perhaps have any advice for me with regard to picking out a camera trap that will suit all my requirements? Regards, Caitlin Melidonis

  6. Hi Caitlin

    I enjoy photographing rodents and other small mammals with my camera traps and would definitely recommend getting one for this purpose :)

    If your primary concern is behavior then I would recommend a Bushnell Trophy Cam. The day time photos are good even at close range the night time IR flash’s blur isn't too bad. The night time images are grainy grey but the video is great for behavior. The Bushnells have excellent detection circuits with helps to capture much more rodent action than other cameras.

    If your primary concern is rodent identification then you might have some luck with the Birdcam 2.0, but it has a very peculiar detection circuit. Or you can try your hand at a homebrew camera, but it is a little bit trickier to build one here in SA than in the US.

    You can find good examples of rodents I photographed on this blog using Bushnells, Birdcam 2.0, Cuddeback Capture and a homebrew.
    Try clicking on the following labels (in the tag cloud on the right): stripes grass mouse, reddish-grey musk shrew, vleirat and woodland doormouse.

    Hope that helps ;)