Dung Collectors.. the Sewage Works of the Veld ..

The Dung Beetle. (the superfamily Scarabaeoidea.)

Dung beetles play a remarkable role in agriculture. By burying and consuming dung, they improve nutrient recycling and the soils.

Dung beetles can be broken down into four distinct groups, telecoprid, endocoprid, paracoprid and kleptocoprid. The endocoprids lay their eggs in a pile of dung, paracoprids dig down below a pile of dung, telecoprids roll the famous balls of dung and kleptocoprids steal the balls from the telecoprids.

The fun they have rolling a ball of sh…

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Dung beetles completely rely on dung for food for both themselves and their larvae and will lay their eggs in the balls. The telecoprids will roll the ball away until they find a suitable place to dig a hole and submerge it. They will then go back to the original pile to roll another and then roll it back to the same hole placing it on top of the first ball. They may place three balls on top of each other like a sleeve of tennis balls before closing the top of the hole and then leaving the larvae to hatch, feed and change into their adult form.

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And if a rock gets in the way..?? try to move it first and if unsuccessful move the ball….

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Dung beetles (coprophages, which means faeces eaters – although some do feed on mushrooms and rotting vegetation), are the clean-up crews of the bushveld, able to carry off and scatter a pile of dung in an amazingly short time. The dung is buried in the ground where it decomposes, aerating and fertilizing the soil. The removal of dung also minimizes the number of flies, so these beetles are extremely useful in maintaining a healthy environment.

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and does that not look appetising to a dung beetle larva.??

Ground Agama.. A lizard in the Kalahari..

The Ground Agama (Agama aculeata)

The Ground Agama is a species of lizard from the Agamidae family, found in most of sub-Saharan Africa.

Breeding males become blue on the sides of the head.  So guess what, this little lad is breeding…

Agamas are active during the day and are often found scampering around to snatch up their favourite foods. They can tolerate greater temperatures than most reptiles, but in the afternoon when temperatures reach around 38°C (100°F) they will settle into the shade and wait for it to cool. Frequent fighting breaks out between males; such fighting involves a lot of bobbing and weaving in an attempt to scare the opponent. If it comes to blows, they lash out with their tails and threaten each other with open jaws.

If caught out in the open, agamas are able to run quickly on their hind legs to reach shelter.  This little guy was in front of the camera.. and I looked to change a setting and when I looked back he was nowhere to be seen…

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The next photo… he was gone… never to be seen again…

Yellow mongoose.. Kalahari Gemsbok Park.

Yellow Mongoose (Cynictis penicillata)

It sometimes referred to as the red meerkat, it is a small mammal averaging about 1 lb. (1/2 kg) in weight and about 20 in (500 mm) in length. A member of the mongoose family, it lives in open country, from semi-desert scrubland to grasslands in South Africa.

The yellow mongoose is carnivorous, consuming mostly arthropods but also other small mammals, lizards, snakes and eggs of all kinds.

Predators of the yellow mongoose are birds of prey, snakes and jackals. When frightened, the yellow mongoose will growl and secrete from its anal glands. It can also scream, bark, and purr, though these are exceptions, as the yellow mongoose is usually silent, and communicates mood and status through tail movements.

These two little fellows paid us a visit at our tent, and entertained us with the antics… Son naturally had to feed them, so we had less to eat….

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Water Leguaan, Nile monitor, Water Monitor…

Don’t ask me what the difference is, I don’t know. I grew up knowing these as Leguaan.

The Nile Monitor (Varanus niloticus), also called Water Leguaan, or River Leguaan, is a large member of the monitor lizard family (Varanidae).

In South Africa they are commonly referred to as leguaan, from the Dutch for iguana.

Monitors can grow to about 9 ft. (2.7 m) in length. They have muscular bodies, strong legs and powerful jaws. The teeth are sharp and pointed in juvenile animals and become blunt and peg-like in adults. They also possess sharp claws used for climbing, digging, defence, or tearing at their prey. Like all monitors they have a forked tongue, with highly developed olfactory properties.

Their nostrils are placed high on the snout, indicating that these animals are highly aquatic, but are also excellent climbers and quick runners on land.  Monitors feed on fish, snails, frogs, crocodile eggs and young, snakes, birds, small mammals, large insects, and carrion.

Which ever member of the Varanidae family this is, I don’t know, what I do know it’s a leguaan…

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A little one… sunning it’s self…

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And this is one verrrrry.. big one… see the size compared to the Impala….

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And at some stage he has had a fight.. look at the teeth marks on his tail..

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African ground squirrel… in Kathu..(25)

African ground squirrels (genus Xerus)

The squirrels live in open woodlands, grasslands, or rocky country. They are diurnal and terrestrial, living in burrows. Their diet is roots, seeds, fruits, pods, grains, insects, small vertebrates and bird eggs. They live in colonies similar to North American prairie dogs, and have similar behaviour.

Their home range is shared with other groups which is actually quite a surprising thing, since in case of most of the mammals there is generally an extremely tough competition to get the female. The group-living instinct of this species gives it a survival opportunity from predators overweighing the disadvantage of breeding opportunities which come from competition.

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This is the 300 post of the Bulldog, and we thought we should add one more photo just to celebrate this fact…