23 February 2013

Looking Good At The Woody Cape

Camera trapping at a new location usually results in some form of a surprise, and the Woody Cape was no exception.

Aardvark (Erdvark - Orycteropus afer) photographed on a hiking trail in the Woody Cape section of Addo Elephant National Park

I must admit I was surprised to find a photograph of an Aardvark on my camera trap. I consulted my field guides and learnt that these strange critters are in fact widely spread throughout South Africa and can be found in a wide range of habitats. In short they are found anywhere they can find their primary food: ants and termites. In general they prefer ants over termites or other insects, but it is also believed that they might have a sweet tooth for the fruit of a plant called the Aardvark Cucumber.

The other new face that showed up on the camera traps might not be such a big surprise, but I'm glad to finally get a photograph of one on my camera traps inside the reserve.

Common/Grey Duiker (Gewone Duiker - Sylvicapra grimmia) sneaking past the camera trap during the day

What struck me about this Common/Grey Duiker was the rich and dark colour. The Duiker I'm used to seeing are much lighter or greying in colour. As the common name suggests. The dark legs also threw me off. (See some of my older posts over here for comparison.)

In general many of the Woody Cape creatures have struck me as having richer and darker colours than some of their relatives living elsewhere in country.

And while I'm on the topic of colour variation below is a collection of Bush Pig photographs illustrating the colour variation found in the Woody Cape.

First up we have an almost black Bushpig (Bosvark - Potamochoerus larvatus) showing us that going Goth is still not cool

This one sports dark undertones, while showing just enough orange-brown to pull off a classic two-tone look, this youngster finishes off the look with a daring side comb to compensate for the lack of a proper mane

The next pig has nothing to hide, strutting in with confidence and sporting a solid grizzled mane, the rich blaze of orange-brown shows some class and the pose says it all

Needing no fancy poses this fellows laughs the opposition out of the competition, with golden flanks, a bristling mane, dashing cheek whiskers and a snout any mother would be proud of, this pig puts the "ush" in Bushpig


  1. That last one is a handsome individual! That ridge of white/grey hair gives a full-blown "razorback" appearance!

  2. Those Aardvarks are such wonderfully strange creatures; they ought to be called, Oddvarks.
    In Uganda I saw pigs called, Giant Forest Hogs. They looked like Wild Boars on sterroids. Is it safe to assume that they are a different species from Bushpigs?
    Great photos of them with their various colors.

  3. @Trailblazer: Ooooe, I should have thought of that and found a way to work "razorback" into the post :) Thanks for the comments.

    @John: Yes, the Giant Forest Hog isn't found in South Africa, but more towards Central/West Africa. The Bushpig actually looks a lot like the Red River Hog that is found in Central and West Africa and not here in the South (or East). You are a well-traveled man John ;)

  4. That looks like a great spot for camera-trapping Henry. I love the colours on that pig too.

  5. @Jeremy: I must confess I usually photoshop the images I post a little to correct the colors of the images to look more natural. Some of my cameras produce some strange colors, especially after a few years of use/abuse :)