The illusive Duiker

Over the many years I have been visiting South Africa and staying in Marloth Park, a conservancy across the Crocodile River from Kruger National Park, I have seldom seen the tiny antelope called a Duiker. (Grey Duiker or Common Duiker).

Duikers are solitary , mainly diurnal animals, usually seen in the early mornings and late afternoons. They are shy and habitually secretive and if disturbed they will move away quickly into the bush. They are browsers and seldom eat grass but will eat berries, and fruit, termites, ants and lizards , rodents and small ground birds. They rarely drink getting their water from their diet.

I was quite surprised this year, 2022, when I settled in at Impala Place in Marloth Park that one of the first animals that I saw was the Duiker. I was sitting on he veranda and he was walking down the drive, of course when he saw me he immediately turned into the bush. The next day I was surprised to see two Duikers, a male and a female in the side yard next to the house. They did not immediately run away and I was actually able to get a photo of them with my phone camera. The next day while I was sitting with my morning coffee the male arrived again and came up to the back door. I got up to throw some cabbage leaves out for him and he backed off a bit but as soon as I closed the door he came and ate the cabbage I had put out.

I have seen at least one of the pair a couple more times since then but usually they are standing next to the bush and ready to flee back into the safety of the bushes. Since this is the first time I have actually been able to get photos of the Duiker I am wondering if somehow the lack of people visiting Impala Place over the past two years of COVID when guests were few and far between has given the Duiker more of an opportunity to get to know the property and they are less shy about visiting?

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