Dinner Time

While on a safari in South Africa, my wife and I were fortunate enough to meet Nottens. She’s a female leopard and has grown up on the private game reserve located adjacent to Kruger National Park. The first night we were staying on the property, Nottens was tracking a meal when our vehicle spooked the animal she was about to pounce on. As Nottens made her way for other dinner options, we followed close behind.

Slowly she crept along in the tall grass keeping a close eye on a large field full of impalas. Quietly she waited for the right moment to act and, as if giving her a gift, a few of the impalas broke away from the rest of the pack and walked right into where Nottens was hiding. Suddenly, she sprang from her hiding place and scattered the impalas. In one lightning-fast move, she reached out her giant paw and brought down an impala, quickly breaking its neck. Our guide put us in a fantastic position to watch the drama unfold, and after the coast was clear, he drove us closer to the kill site.

Nottens was fast at work devouring her catch. This was Africa at its wildest, and the leopard knew her time was short. Before long, hyenas caught on to the action and wanted a piece of it for themselves. Using strength in numbers, three of them moved in, driving Nottens from her meal. Wisely, she ate as much as she could before the hyenas arrived so when she ran off it was with enough food to make it another day. Meanwhile, the hyenas couldn’t settle on who should eat, so they began to fight amongst themselves for the meal.

After we originally spotted her, barely ten minutes had passed before Nottens brought down an impala. A mere six minutes of feeding had passed before hyenas had chased her off. Such is life on the African bush.

(3855) 0811.

This entry was posted in Nature and tagged , .