Tag Archive: Animal interaction


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This honey badger got into a very prickly situation when it decided to take on a crested porcupine! Before I had time to set up my camera, the porcupine made a mad dash directly towards our vehicle. With the badger momentarily distracted by the 17 massive, foot long quills protruding from its head, neck and shoulders, the porcupine sprinted (they can run pretty fast!) around the corner and escaped. The badger tried to follow its scent, but it was too late and it retreated back into the bush.

Honey badgers are known to be one the most fierce mammals around. They can withstand stings from hundreds of bees and multiple bites from highly venomous snakes. While this photo¬† isn’t great (ISO 32000 to freeze the action in low light), I thought it was important to share since there are very few documented reports of honey badgers hunting porcupines. In fact, many state that honey badger skin is impervious to porcupine quills!

While not impervious, most of the quills were not deeply embedded; a testament to just how tough and thick badger skin is. I suspect that the likely outcome will be most of these quills will fall out on their own or will be scratched or bitten out by the badger. Long term, it might develop an infection, but given how tough these animals are, I also wouldn’t be surprised if keeps on going as if nothing happened!

A common, but never dull sighting in Kruger National Park were the numerous turtles that used hippopotami as their basking platforms. With the hippos tired out from eating all night long they mostly rested in the water during the day, which gave the opportunistic turtles a perfect platform to grab some rays.¬† Surprisingly, the notoriously cranky hippos didn’t seem to mind the reptilian free-loaders!

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The extreme example of this was this dynamic duo. Not wanting to go back into the murky water, the turtle was determined to hang on while the hippo went for a stroll along the shore. I figured at some point it would either get scared and crawl off, or it would fall. However, I underestimated the determination of the turtle, who hung on and continued basking on the hippo’s back while being paraded around the watering hole! Always something new and interesting to see when watching wildlife.

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