Tag Archive: Humour

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!


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.


I think it’s almost impossible to have a bad day if you spend any time watching prairie dogs! To me they are the comics of the prairies.

They can just be sitting around their burrows looking out on the world and they still make me laugh.

PD Budda 2 WM

It looks like this one is creating a new fashion trend by combining a corset with oversized and saggy pants!

You would think something as mundane as eating grass wouldn’t be very entertaining but somehow they manage!

PD grass mouth WM

If that doesn’t get you smiling they become a little less subtle by doing what is called a jump-yip!

PD jump yip 2 WM

A jump-yip is a very creative term scientists use to describe when they jump up on their back legs (sometimes falling over in the process) and make a yipping noise at the same time!

If one didn’t know better they might think they are praying to a higher being and given all that they go through on a daily basis they really do have a lot to worry about. You see prairie dogs just aren’t cute little comedians, they are also a keystone species of the prairie ecosystem. They are the exclusive food of the endangered  black-footed ferret and on the menu of coyotes, red and swift foxes, badgers, owls, hawks, and snakes. That’s not to mention the occasional human that shoots them or runs them over! While trying to avoid all of these predators they are constantly clipping and eating the grass, flowers and bushes to get fat enough to survive the winter. In the process they create a fertile, biodiverse, natural garden that other species like deer and pronghorn thrive off of.  The burrows they build are converted into homes and hiding places for burrowing owls, ferrets, badgers, leopard frogs, prairie rattlesnakes and black widow spiders. Without them several species would die out and over a hundred more would be affected by their absence from the landscape.

Sometimes the pressure of being so important to so many gets too much and they collapse into a heap called the prairie dog pancake!

PD pancake WM

Through it all they still make sure to show their loved ones how much they care about them, even if  it’s not always appreciated!

PD kisses 1 WM

So the next time you see one, spend a few minutes watching them. I’m willing to bet that at the very least you will come away with a smile on your face and hopefully like me, an increased appreciation for all they do for the prairie landscape.