Sighting: Serpent Surprise at Tubu Tree
Location: Tubu Tree Camp, Jao Concession, Botswana
Date: 15 February 2013
Photographer: Pamela E. Hall
Observers: Pamela E. Hall and Brooks Kamanakao
During an afternoon game drive at Tubu Tree Camp, we observed a herd of impala at the end of the Jao Concession airstrip alarm calling and all staring in the same direction. We approached the herd, but they just continued alarm calling and snorting - all the while staring into some thick vegetation.
Suddenly there was a commotion in the bushes which was followed by a loud thud and then bleating. Impala and kudu charged out of the area and ran past us. We assumed that we would see a leopard emerge from the bush so we were shocked when we saw a huge Southern African python coiling itself around an impala ewe.
It was an incredible sighting but we did not want to disturb the snake while it was feeding and so we left the location to go and watch the sun set, all recounting this sighting again and again to each other.
Early the next morning we returned to the place, and there was no impala or snake, but there were lots of spotted hyaena tracks riddled around the area. After studying the tracks, we found a snake track going into the undergrowth and then found drag marks – it was clear that the hyaena had disturbed the snake possibly while it was still trying to swallow the impala. The snake left its prey and fled, while a hyaena dragged the carcass away.
Suddenly a hyaena popped out of the bush and began sniffing around the area and our vehicle – obviously also trying to investigate what had gone on here - and whether there were any leftovers to be had!