Catching on camera, the shy creatures of the night is extremely difficult, not only in the technical sense, all the low lighting and camera shake that makes the task a tricky one. But also the fact that you need to be dedicated and forfeit some shut eye in order to catch them out and about. A way round this is a camera trap set up on a frequented water hole or path. The national parks don’t allow you out after dark so this is the perfect way to catch those critters that appear after the sun has gone down.
We came across a lion kill that had been left for whatever reason, and decided to put up the camera trap for the night and see what came down to feed on the buffalo. The night time visitors included Spotted Hyenas, Side Striped Jackels, African Civets and surprisingly a Ground Hornbill early in the morning.
Whereas the Hyena and Jackels are often see during the day, the African Civet is a very rare sight before dark. These creatures are similar to the raccoon although are slightly larger, with a black robbers mask on a pale head. The body colours vary from buff to grey, with black stripes and spots. These creatures are omnivorous, scavenging around for anything they consider delicious, and are loners, males keeping a well marked out territory.
Another common nocturnal creature is the Large Spotted Genet pictured at the top of the page. These beautifully marked creatures bring to mind the stoat, but being a bit larger. They, too are omnivorous, but are a lot more agile that the Africa Civet and can be seen pouncing on mice in the long grass and chasing potential dinner up into the boughs of trees.