It took us quite a while to reach a good spot among all the other cars – in the end it turned out to be the ultimate spot. When we got there, the leopard was busy cleaning himself. A closer look revealed a single porcupine quilt on his right cheek – seemed like he had recently tried to catch one of these huge rodents. A few minutes later the cat got up and disappeared – or so it must have seemed for the big majority of car drivers, that’s why a lot of them started their engines and left the scene. My daughter was pretty much the only one who could see that in fact the leopard had gone into one of these drainpipes underneath the road so we course stayed, hoping that it might emerge again. All of a sudden I heard bones crushing under car wheels – I honestly thought this idiot driver had caught both leopard and porcupine (btw: you can hear me swear at him – so for those sensitive motherly ears that are out there, I have learned – out there, please do not watch this clip or at least turn down the volume). In the end it was “only” the rodent he killed – however, I am extremely sure the leopard would have gotten the porcupine even without the unwanted aid, after all, he had chased the prey out onto the road.
An interesting side note: a few days later a guide at Lower Sabie told me that porcupines are a delicacy both for lions and for leopards – an allegation I was later able to confirm with a look at Smithers’ “Mammals of Southern Africa”: in the Kalahari remains of porcupines occur in 30% of leopard scats, in Kruger 13% of all lion kills are porcupines.
Filmed on Oct 15, 2012 in Kruger National Park, South Africa