New Cubs on the Block
Our friends at Cottar’s Safaris have been in touch to let us know about a cheetah named Rahisi, who has welcomed five new cubs to the plains of the Maasai Mara - they are happy to say that all are doing well.
One of the most important hunters, cheetahs are crucial to the biodiversity of the Mara - they prey on the weak and old individuals of various species, keeping the population healthy. In turn, this helps prevent overgrazing.
Kenya’s Masai Mara and the neighbouring Serengeti National Park in Tanzania are home to many species of big cats. There are more than 3,000 lions and approximately 1,000 leopards (one of which is named George - a resident at Cottar's that loves to show off to guests), but only about 300 cheetahs. Despite being the fastest land animal, they can’t survive by themselves. It’s estimated that 95% of all cheetahs won’t live to see adulthood, which is why it’s so incredible to hear that these cubs are thriving.
Also at Cottar’s, there’s been an amazing sighting of a huge python in the area. African Rock Pythons are one of the largest species of snakes in the world, reaching mammoth lengths of 6 metres or more. Although non-venomous, they constrict their prey and expand their ribs before eating, allowing them to swallow food sources much larger than themselves like antelope or even crocodiles. Mostly, they stick to smaller prey like rodents, operating as prime pest control in the plains.
Despite not being endangered, these stunning snakes are near threatened. Over three generations, the population of African Rock Pythons have declined by 60%. When spotted, many kill them on sight out of fear, or they’re hunted to be sold for their skin. Python attacks on humans are exceedingly rare, but some studies have shown that our brains have been hardwired to fear and detect snakes as a form of evolutionary protection.
We’re happy to hear this python spotted at Cottar’s was left well alone in its habitat, living under the protection of the Maasai Mara reserve.