Mma-Ritha, Hennops River
We love watching the teeming wildlife around our place. For instance, we came across two dung beetles pushing the biggest dung ball I've seen. It was easily six centimetres across – see the pic below. We've also had a large tortoise in the garden and called it Koos (could have been Koosina) but he/she finally set off for other pastures. Then we found the cutest baby tortoise near the house. But, horrors! We then discovered a Croc in the Hennops River. Here is the proof...(middle pic)

 

Hennops

Meryl Horn, Pretoria
While I was visiting my family in the Conservancy we spotted a thin brown snake making its way up the side of the sittingroom window. (On the outside wall, thank you!) The wall is face-brick and the snake slowly slid along the joints. On closer inspection we found a small bat clinging to the wall. The snake clearly had “lunch” in mind.

As we were contemplating interfering with nature – either saving the bat or leaving the snake to do what snakes do – it lunged and coiled around the bat in a flash. It then dropped behind a flower box and disappeared. It was likely a brown house snake which does not have venom and therefore does not bite. But what intrigued me most was the way it twisted itself around its prey - more like a constrictor. I'd like to find out more about this behaviour.

And a message all the way from across the Atlantic -
Jeanette Ibargoyen, Montevideo, Uruguay
I enjoyed very much this last issue of VeldTalk... It takes you from giraffes through would-be lions, down to owls and all the little guys... Fascinating! And the photos, too. Keep up the good work!!!

Annette Raaff, Hartebeestfontein Conservancy
VeldTalk is always a great read, but VeldTalk 45 was absolutely outstanding: (almost) lions, birds big and small, giraffes and hyena, a brilliant glass recycling idea and 'green building'. I was sorry to get to the end of the newsletter, so I read it again for the sheer enjoyment of it. Well done!

Jeanette Horn, Hills and Dales
My rain gauge has been cheating me of my rightful quota of rain. My neighbour, 100 metres to the south, and I decided to check our gauges after she consistently got more rain than I did, which I did not regard as fair. Taking our kitchen measuring cups we discovered that 50mm poured into her gauge showed 43mm and 37mm in mine! Next time I buy a rain gauge I'm taking a bottle of water and I'll test every single one in the shop until I find an honest one.

(Taking the missing millimetres into account, we certainly got “Borehole Rain” in the Conservancy this summer! As far as the roads are concerned, it's been “Mudhole Rain”. Ed.)

Carolyn Allan, Rhenosterspruit
Thank you for the informative newsletter, I so look forward to receiving this mail, as there is always something going on in our beautiful area. Great, informative and helpful tips always worth reading.

Niko Knigge, Doornrandje
There are many parallels between HIV and the Pompom/Verbena epidemics of the Gauteng grasslands. We cannot afford to ignore it; we cannot fight it alone; we are still mostly ignorant; where we are no longer ignorant, we're still in denial (as some of us were with HIV in the '90s). NGOs and activists are beginning to wake up but Government and politicians still do not show leadership in tackling the alien scourge. We will have to finally wake up to the scale of the problem, and respond sufficiently strongly to contain it, or we will never - not in our lifetimes - get rid of it.

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