11 September 2010

Quarries, Cannons And Dassies

Today I moved the cameras to the old quarry on the southern slope of Tygerberg. Apparently they used the stone mined from the quarry to build the N1 highway that runs past the southern end of the hill.

A more interesting fact about the quarry is that somehow a population of dassies made their way there. As I first approached the quarry I only saw sheer cliffs in all directions and wondered how I will ever get down there, but luckily I was meeting up with the reserve manager and she showed me a very easy (and obvious) road, that was hidden from my view, leading onto the middle level of the big hole.

Rock Hyrax/Dassie (Klipdassie - Procavia capensis) keeping an eye on me

The quarry is a bit less secure and there are more trespassers in this part of the reserve. I decided to camouflage my camera a bit in the hope that trespassers won't notice it. Usually I don't bother with camouflage. Animals don't seem to mind it much. Most animals seem to inspect it rather than avoid it.

Now you see it...

...Now you don't (I hope)

The Friends of Tygerberg and boy scouts/cubs where busy with alien clearing close to the quarry and I got a lift back with them. As we got back the reserve manager said we might as well go watch the cannon go off. Tygerberg has an old cannon on its highest hill that still gets fired at every excuse the CAOSA (pleasantly-crazy cannon people) can come up with.


I think the story goes that the cannon was used to inform the farmers in the area when a ship has arrived in the harbour that might want to buy some fresh produce from them.

Video: I set my camera to multi-shot mode and it produced this result

All in all it was a good trip with excellent weather. It seems that spring has finally reached us down here. But I have also learnt that nothing is certain with Cape Town weather.


  1. Excellent Hyrax shot Henry! What a great critter. How can you not love a mammal that's related to elephants and manatees!

  2. Love the rock dassie. You gotta love a face like that.

    My old and late friend Griff Ewer had a tree dassie as a pet, which had a passion for eating cigars.

    Charming and fascinating animals.

  3. He he he :) Yes, dassies are something else.
    In the short time I spent at the quarry I didn't see any sign of dassies for the first hour, but later on the youngsters started popping out and before long the lot was chilling on the rocks just meters away from me, not at all disturbed by my clumsy rock hopping.
    Lovely little creatures!

  4. I was searching trying to find out what dassies eat in the wild. This because we have become the proud (reluctant) owner of a 3 month old dassie caught by our dog. We tried returning it to the wild but no-one claimed it. We have been feeding it on puppy milk and it seems to be thriving but would like to give it solid food as well.
    Any ideas?

  5. Hi Joey
    Unfortunately I can't speak from experience, but I guess they will eat most vegetables, especially their leaves. Lettuce alone won't be good for them. Try carrots with their leaves still attached. It might also be a good idea to let the animal roam around and find its own food (if it is practical).
    I'll ask/look around a bit and let you know if I find out something useful and more concrete.