The Predators and Carnivores Of The Southern African Bush
Predation and the Predator and Carnivore species of South Africa and Surrounds
Predators are truly the kings of the South African bush, especially at night. There are more predators in South Africa than you think. Surely you know about Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs and Hyaena's. But have you heard of Wild Cats, Genets, Civets and Bat-Eared Foxes? There are more predators in Southern Africa than you think.
Predators are carnivores that hunt their prey. All the predators have different ways of hunting. For example Cheetahs run after their prey at 110km/h whereas Servals sneak up on their prey and then pounce upon it.
Predators are not often seen so you might not see a lot of them during your stay, but I guarantee if you look carefully into the thickets you will find a predator, more often than not one that has nocturnal habits. A lot more predators are found outside reserves than other types of large mammals. The largest predator that survives outside conservation areas is the Leopard. Leopards are very adaptable and live in semi-deserts, forests, marshes and woodlands. They will eat just about anything, from termites to beetles to giraffe and wildebeest, but the smaller predators are the most successful carnivores. Lions will make a kill once in every four attempts, and mainly control the numbers of zebra and buffalo.
Smaller predators are found all over South Africa, and some like the Caracal and Aardvark are known to live a few kilometers from towns and cities. The Caracal and Aardvark are so successful because they are nocturnal and can afford to live close to human settlements. Mongooses have even been known to inhabit warehouses.
If you venture are into the Karoo you will unfortunately see a few dead predators in the road. This is again due to the nocturnal habits of these animals. At night they patrol up and down the roads which due to the roads warmth attract rodents. While the small carnivores are hunting the rodents a truck or a car comes past and the predator is blinded by the light of the vehicles and then gets run over. This is tragic but doesn't affect the population too much.
All predators have keen eye sight and other senses which is another reason why they do not get seen to often. So watch out for all the different carnivorous and even insectivorous predators around the untamed wilds they call Southern Africa.