Slap ‘n tickle

9 05 2011

Any sort of mammal behaviour is fun to watch, and especially photograph, so I was delighted to come across a female leopard teaching her young male cub a quick lesson. The two had been separated for a few days while the mother was out on the hunt, and reunited with a little more vigour than usual.
The cub, who is about 20 months, was in the mood to test out his stalking and pouncing skills, and surprised his mother with a claw filled welcome. She reacted immediately, and had him subdued almost instantly. Sheepishly, he went limp, submitting to his more cunning mother, and she let him go. In a flash, he was back up and stalking her again, trying his luck in an unsurprising second ambush. She knew this game well, as she has raised numerous litters of cubs over the years.
She let him give chase for a few yards, before quickly turning the tables, and again pinning him down. It was a great display of maternal care mixed with extreme athleticism. Remembering the games she used to play as a cub, and all the times she had patiently sat and been ‘hunted’ by her previous litters, gave her all the experience she needed to teach him a thing or two.
This she did, until he eventually lost interest in the games, and they moved off together to a kill that she had stashed in a tree nearby.
He continues to harass his mother on a near daily basis, and will do so until the day he finally leaves her care and assumes independence, all the while building his muscles, honing his skills, and practicing being a leopard.
I can only hope that I get the chance to see the two leopards at play again.

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One response

9 05 2011
Maureen lorusso

thanks so much for keeping our wonderful memories of our time on Safari with you alive. All the best to you & keep up the great work!

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