View Forest Cobra 01 in a larger map
18:12 – 33c
After a week of not seeing FC01 we were worried that we would not find it. But then by luck we picked up a signal, in the opposite direction to where we had been expecting it to be (yes I know, it is usually easier to find something if you look in the right place!).
FC01 is in a patch of bush in the middle of neighbouring pineapple fields 1,500m from where we last saw it! Check the map to see where it is now!
10:00 – 26.4c
FC01 was still in the same patch of bush as the previous couple of days. Great we thought, it has found another place to chill.
18:40 – 25.6c
Due to its positioning near the gate, for the last couple of days we have been checking position as we drive past. As we returned from town we checked, fully expecting it to be once more still in the bush – but it was gone.
We checked once more outside the fence line, just in case it had decided to move on once more, but not there either. Ok, we thought, must have gone the other way into our neighbours property. So we checked all along the perimeter line of our property, and then all of a sudden, there it was -bip- -bip- then it started to get louder -beep- -beep- -beep-.
FC01 was heading our way.
Slinking through the bush towards us was FC01 (it was actually quite strange to see it on the floor)!
Constantly looking around and tasting the air, we knew it was hunting, or at least looking for prey. FC01 then started making its way into a tree (this is what we are familiar with) when it suddenly paused, raised its head, tasted the air, turned and made its way slowly, silently back to the ground where it hid.
We initially thought that it had been spooked by us but we were still hidden, still and quiet.
Then we heard a little ‘wuarck’ — ‘wuarck’ — ‘wuarck’ .
We held our breath, too scared to move a muscle lest we disturb either FC01 or Elephant Shrew and interfere with nature – not to mention of course the selfish desire to see it catch wild prey (or for that matter, see how the Elephant Shrew would escape).
The Elephant Shrew seemed oblivious to both us and the Forest Cobra as he scuttled around munching on the different bugs and insects it came across as it fussed in the leaf litter.
Still unable to see FC01 (but knowing where he us) we watched the Elephant Shrew as he wandered off in the direction of FC01, then we heard a scuffle and the Elephant Shrew came shooting past us. We could still hear it as it went into the bush a few minutes later ‘waurcking’ and shuffling the leaves. So we presume that FC01 missed and the Elephant Shrew got away. It was at this point that we decided to leave FC01 to his hunting.
FC01 was still inside the termite mound (Day 10, 29-32) this morning. But lots of rain today and we want to see if it was the rain that caused FC01 to leave the termite mound last time so we will check again later.
It would appear our suspicions are correct as despite the rain (and relatively cold temperatures) FC01 has journeyed approx 400m to a new location within the property.
Well, good news, FC01 – Forest Cobra #1 – is still here. It was sunning itself in the trees but we couldn’t see it, so we moved closer into the bush and the signal stopped, holding our breaths we waited. It could have been above us, to the left of us or to the right but without the signal we were unable to be sure. Then it was back – bip – bip – bip….
The crafty little thing managed to snake (no pun intended) its way down from the trees and circle around us before entering its hole!!
So we again have no visual of the Forest Cobra but it does seem to have taken up (possibly temporary) residence on the property once more.
Things have been quite quiet regarding FC01; but never fear I am about to tell you why.
Day 26 – FC01 has made the most of the cooler weather and has ventured into the Pineapple fields.
Day 27 – As the hot weather approaches FC01 has crossed over the road and entered a nearby property seeking cooler areas.
Day 28 – FC01 did not appear to be comfortable in his location yesterday and has ventured further into the property, but is again skirting along the fence line.
Day 29 – FC01 has decided to return to Umkhumbi Lodge!! We tracked the Forest Cobra around a neighbouring property for 4 hours before it returned to Umkhumbi Lodge. See below for its route, click on the points for the times. Total distance moved 962m during the day!
View FC01 Day 29 in a larger map
Cool temperature, low humidity. Overnight showers.
Now that we have a less steamy day here in Hluhluwe it has made a break for it. There are frogs in abundance thanks to the rain and FC01 has ventured into the pineapple fields! This is not good.
Lets hope FC01 decides to turn back before it ventures onto the road.
Approx travel: 683m as the crow flies.
70ml rain overnight.
After the break in the Hluhluwe heat (and finally some rain! :D ), FC01 has decided to let us know it is still alive and moved to a new spot.
However technical failure occurs in the rain, so we have used triangulation to obtain this approximate position. But we are confident of its accuracy to within an approximately 5m radius.
Approx 329m as the crow flies.
FC01 is still in the same position. Six days in the same place is not a good sign. But the weather is about to break, so we will soon find out if it is alive or not.
We can’t smell dead snake, and in this heat we should be able to smell it from miles away, so signs are good!
11/01/2012 – Day 18
We have been checking the position of FC01 everyday, but there has been little if any change in position.
When we observed this behaviour during our last project, it was due to either a large feed, the weather or (unhappily) the snake having been eaten.
The weather recently has been extremely hot and accompanied by high levels of humidity which could be responsible for FC01 not wanting to move much – we certainly don’t want to move much!
Climbing into the bush as far as possible (it is extremely thick vegetation) has provided us with no further clues as to the reason for his behaviour. The bush has formed an almost cave like shelf, we cannot see in partly due to the darkness (even a bright torch did not assist in this) but mostly due to the sheer compactness of the bush. We are therefore still hoping that FC01 has decided to position itself in the bush due to the security it feels in this impenetrable fort.
The snake looked to be in perfect condition at the last sighting, which further makes us believe the snake to be ok and instead being influenced by other factors.
Extremely Hot and humid.
FC01 loves to keep me on my toes!
I feared that FC01 had gone missing in action as I could not pick up any signal at all that the Forest Cobra was still on the property. We have made arrangements with our neighbours to track the Forest Cobra should it cross the fence line.
So there was nothing to do except walk the perimeter fence, all two miles of it in the heat of a Zululand summer. Just as I began to despair, there it was *beep*. It was faint, but it was there – if it wasn’t for the truck that drove past on the road I would almost have been tempted to dance!
The Forest Cobra has moved once more to the opposite side of the property – approximately 630m from his last known position.