16 Nov 2010 An amazing sighting
While returning from a game drive one evening, we came across this civet walking in an open area. They are normally quite skittish animals, and are apt to run into the thickets the minute you get too close to them.
This one, however, seemed largely unperturbed by our approach.
Opportunities like these don’t come along very often, so we immediately stopped to watch this beautiful creature as it went about its business. A short while later we noticed two Black-backed jackals approaching from the opposite direction. With its nose pressed firmly to the ground, the oblivious civet just kept on walking and sniffing for food.
While the civet’s and jackal’s diet consist mainly of insects, the jackal does catch other mammals whenever the opportunity presents itself. It just depends on the size of the mammal in question, and the number of jackals on hand to help with the hunt. In this case the jackal pair definitely had the upper hand, as the civet is a solitary animal and generally forages alone.
We watched with bated breath as they approached one another, anxious to see what would happen when both parties finally realised that they weren’t alone.
At just over 20m away from each other, all three were still quite ignorant of the other’s existence.
For a moment we thought they’d just pass each other by undetected, but then out of the blue the jackals took off after the civet. The civet gave one deep growl, and then beat a hasty retreat up a nearby Umbrella thorn tree.
Civets are actually relatively poor climbers, although they will occasionally climb a tree to get at its fruit. But given the lack of options, this one had nowhere to go but up . With its prospective prey now out of reach, the jackal lay down about 5m from the tree and kept a beady eye on the nervous civet.
In the bush one expects to see lions chasing leopards up trees, but jackals chasing civets? Now that’s something you don’t see everyday.
Until next time,