20 September 2016

The Missing Mustelidae

During my initial camera trapping stint at Koeberg Nature Reserve I didn't manage to photograph any of the species that form part of the Mustelidae (weasel) family. On a few occasions I saw Honey Badger paw prints, but I never got a photograph.

Even though the focus of my recent camera trapping was to capture evidence of the Leopard, I still hoped to add some new species to the list.

I was very glad when I learnt from the reserve staff that a Honey Badger walked past one of the camera traps.

Honey Badger (Ratel - Mellivora capensis) snacking on a Springbok carcass

Apparently one of the Springbok got hit by a car and the reserve staff decided to put some of the carcass out in front of the camera trap to possibly lure the Leopard. The Leopard didn't show up. The Honey Badger did, but only after the local Pied Crow(s) and Small Grey Mongoose cleaned off most of the meat.

Honey Badger carrying off what remained of the carcass

Unfortunately this luck didn't last.

There are two more members of the Mustelidae family which I know are present on the reserve, but I still don't have any camera trap evidence to back it up.

First up is the Cape Clawless Otter. I didn't see many signs of them on my previous visit, but this time around the one dam was crawling with footprints.

Otter tracks at the dam

I placed a camera at the dam, but didn't catch the otter in action. I'll have to come back someday to settle the score.

The other missing member is the African Striped Polecat. I found one that was killed by a car on the road just outside the reserve, so I know they are in the area, but I didn't photograph any on my camera traps.

A dead Striped Polecat (Stinkmuishond - Ictonyx striatus) found just outside the reserve

The polecat was in fairly good condition when I found it, so I decided to take it home and try to clean the skull.

The skull is now part of my collection