February 8, 2012


In nature, you don’t always have had to see the actual event to know that something exciting happened. The evidence left, or lack thereof, can make you conjure up a thrilling tale of whatever took place.

Just ask the group of students that started their yearlong professional field guide course at Selati a month ago. They are on their way to our wilderness camp at Karongwe where they will continue their course, but before they left, Selati had one more surprise on offer.

During a morning activity exploring the Selati landscape, they came across the scene depicted in this photograph. A large male lion dug up the aardvark burrow where a warthog mother and her piglets were taking refuge. The end result? The lion got a pig for dinner and there’s now one less warthog in Selati.

Chris (assistant instructor) said they were aware of the lion in the bushes, but it was just too dense for a good picture.

One may ask why a warthog would seek refuge in an aardvark hole.

Unbeknownst to most people the aardvark plays a huge role in the survival and distribution of other species. The holes dug by the aardvark as shelter are utilised by other species for their own shelter and protection.

Warthogs are no exception.

These animals are very small and almost naked at birth. They are prone to hypothermia and death ensues. Aardvark holes provide a readymade home where they are protected from the elements and predators. The female’s movements create a hollow for her body and a shelf is created where the piglets are above any water that might flow into the hole. They are also less likely to be squashed by her when she moves.

A great debt is thus owed to the nocturnal snuffler that is the aardvark. Just don’t forget that the lion is still “the king of the jungle”.

 (Thanks Chris for the photos and Mark for the info on the aardvark!)
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