Spots, Stripes and other Wild Art

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PhotCred: Kelwan Kaiser

Camouflage is a wild and wonderful thing!

When you’re smaller, slower or less aggressive than a predator or prey, being able to hide yourself amongst the flora and fauna can potentially save your life. Not only that, but a wild animals’ ability to blend so effortlessly, and cunningly, into their surroundings creates a wonderful tapestry of shapes, colours and tones that we as humans can only marvel at. It’s just one of mother nature’s many ways of proving that she is both smart, and beautiful.

Here at Nambiti Hills, we try our hand at a bit of camouflage every now and then. Dressed in our khaki gear, us rangers like to think we are pretty good at disguising ourselves from the wide-eyed gazes of the wild animals while on our daily game drives. But when it comes to camouflage, no one does it better than the animals themselves.

Take for example, the expert of slow-motion, precision hunting: The Cheetah. His spotted pelt is a combination of dark and light patches that help to break up his slender outline, ensuring he doesn’t stand out so glaringly against his background. His spots are also said to resemble the shaded areas where he is known to hide, such as dappled grassy floors and tall fields. It’s safe to say, his prey don’t see him until it’s too late.

As a zig and zag of black and white stripes, the Zebra may stick out like a sore thumb to the human eye. But to a colour blind lion, their primary predator, this striped pattern can be seen as a confusing blur. A great deterrent when grazing vulnerably out in the open veld and your predators can’t tell where one zebra starts and another one ends.

From multi-coloured chameleons to stick-like insects and leaf-look-a-like spots on the tall giraffe, there is no doubt that wild animals have adapted to their wild surroundings with “fitting in” as a key feature. It’s a strategy that plays a vital role in their daily struggle for survival. So much so, that game drives are filled with hours of game-spotting, searching for animals that don’t want to be found. But when we do find them, it’s a proud and accomplished moment for us rangers, being able to spoil our guests with great sightings and putting our trained eyes to the test.

Watching prey outsmart its predator, or a predator put its camouflage skills into action is all part of the thrill here at Nambiti Hills Private Game Reserve. And we can’t wait to find all your favourite wild animals with you on your next adventure with us.

Until next time.
Ranger Kelwan.