175 Leopard Street | Episode 3

175 Leopard Street | Episode 3

Last night we had one of our very unique visitors to our garden. A massive male porcupine (well I assume he was a male…I wasn’t going to double-check). He is one of The Secret Seven – rare animals that enjoy their privacy – but what makes them special is that they are considered the most difficult game animals to find while on safari. The Secret Seven are the aardvark, African wild cat, civet, large spotted genet, pangolin, porcupine and serval and are considered one of the top sightings when you are out on a game drive. Not so popular when he is sniffing around Brian’s garden. I’m surprised the critter came back after what happened the last time. At least this time around he came alone.

On his previous visit, he was joined by his mate and their 2 offspring. Delightful little Porcupine family and the girls were so excited to see them for the first time. Brian had wondered what was digging a hole underneath the fence to get into our yard and was eating the roots of all his plants and saplings at night. At least we knew who the culprit was and one look at Brian’s face I could tell they were not welcome.

Now, from a vehicle, a porcupine looks cute and fuzzy and smallish, well not so much when you're on foot a couple of meters away. I did warn my husband that this could potentially be a dangerous situation, but this was Brian’s territory and he was adamant to protect it at all costs!

So out he ran armed with a broom (a soft bristle broom) our hero, chasing them into the dark corners of the garden where our outside light doesn’t quite reach. The girls and I spectating from the kitchen backdoor steps, all 3, of course, directing Papa on where to go and what to do (Freya mainly shouting “No Papa! No!”). The porcupine is not an aggressive animal, it will only attack when it feels threatened. It is also not an easy task to try and “herd” a porcupine and definitely not advisable. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME warning applies! As Brian approached, very slowly, feeling his way through the dark with the broom… blind as a bat, the porcupine family was pacing up and down. The male would clack its teeth then straightened its quills in a defensive posture while swatting its tail. He suddenly decided he had had enough of the German’s shenanigans and started chasing Brian around. It was hilarious! A couple of high shrieked yelps from the brave German and what looked like he was doing the hurdles in an Olympic race, dodging Scootootoo’s and garden furniture, he darted right passed us through the kitchen door. The funniest thing was watching the porcupine who was chasing him whilst running backwards, in reverse mode. He would grunt and shuffle closer then spin around and expose his flexed out quills. The girls and I laughed so hard the tears were rolling down our cheeks.

Luckily after all this excitement the porcupine family obviously thought this was just too much effort for an evening snack and decided to leave.

We were so fortunate to share the experience together. People think because you live in the Kruger Park that you experience this sort of thing every day of your life when unfortunately we don’t (it’s only every second day). We are blessed to be surrounded by animals and yes we see the usual suspects like Impala, monkeys, warthogs and birds every day. We never take it for granted. My girls absolutely love seeing Impala, it was actually Freya’s very first word!

So during my episodes that I’ll be sharing are the experiences I have had living in the Park for the last 13 years, not just over the lockdown period.

I do hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy reliving these amazing memories!

Here’s the list of what animals I have seen in our garden:

  • Lesser Bush Baby
  • Thick-tailed Bush Baby
  • Tree Squirrel
  • Common Gennet
  • African Civet
  • Porcupine
  • Spotted Hyena
  • Hippo (with her calf! Flattened our fence completely)
  • Elephant (very politely pushed open the gate)
  • Kudu
  • Impala

  • Nyala
  • Warthog
  • Leopard (scent marking my gate! And tracks past my front door)
  • Vervet Monkeys
  • Chacma Baboons
  • Banded Mongoose
  • Mozambique Spitting Cobra
  • Black Mamba
  • Variegated Bush snake (in my house)
  • Stiletto Snake (in my house)
  • Does it count if Lions walked right past our house?

That’s all for episode 3 folks, keep an eye out for more stories from the beautiful Kruger National Park

Marli Müller
marli@seoloafrica.com

Marli is the General manager of Rhino Post Safari Lodge and Plains Camp @ Rhino Walking Safaris. Her can-do attitude is what makes her so popular with guests and staff alike. She's always thinking out of the box and making the impossible possible. Her naughty sense of humour and big laugh are trademarks that ensure that nobody ever forgets her.