Maasai Mara carnivores

by Robin Fuller November. 17, 2020 405 views
A young adult male Lion, in the prime of life.

A young adult male Lion, in the prime of life.

Large numbers of grazing animals support numerous and diverse populations of predators.

We saw several prides of lions in our stay on the Mara, including the Maasai Marsh Pride, stars of BBC TV Big Cat Diary. In 2015, news broke of the poisoning of members of the Pride. To escape conflict, they moved into an adjoining reserve. That shows the value of private reserves as a backup for national sites. The photos below are of various prides from several locations.

A older lion showing his age - I know how he feels! I think this male was the subject of a BBC TV documentary about its alliance with a younger male, as co-leaders of a pride - a successful blend of youth and experience.

A older lion showing his age - I know how he feels! I think this male was the subject of a BBC TV documentary about its alliance with a younger male, as co-leaders of a pride - a successful blend of youth and experience.

A Lion smells breakfast and hurries along to make sure he gets 'the lion's share'.

A Lion smells breakfast and hurries along to make sure he gets 'the lion's share'.

But hurrying is not something a Lion is inclined to do, especially after breakfast.

But hurrying is not something a Lion is inclined to do, especially after breakfast.

A Lioness stares straight at the camera - or is she eyeing up the cameraman as potential prey.

A Lioness stares straight at the camera - or is she eyeing up the cameraman as potential prey.

Five Lionesses of a pride gather together in quiet relaxation, with only one distracted by our presence.

Five Lionesses of a pride gather together in quiet relaxation, with only one distracted by our presence.

Lions become almost invisible when hidden in tall grass.

Lions become almost invisible when hidden in tall grass.

A Lion and Lioness paired up and away from the pride. Females are receptive for three or four days in their reproductive cycle, during which time a pair may mate every 20–30 minutes, maybe up to 50 times in 24 hours.

A Lion and Lioness paired up and away from the pride. Females are receptive for three or four days in their reproductive cycle, during which time a pair may mate every 20–30 minutes, maybe up to 50 times in 24 hours.

The Lioness teases the Lion ...

The Lioness teases the Lion ...

... then signals her readiness to mate.

... then signals her readiness to mate.

The Lion mounts the Lioness in a brief act of copulation which is usually followed immediately by the Lioness snapping and snarling at the Lion, with teeth bared and claws flashing. But 20-30 minutes later, she's sweetness and light.

The Lion mounts the Lioness in a brief act of copulation which is usually followed immediately by the Lioness snapping and snarling at the Lion, with teeth bared and claws flashing. But 20-30 minutes later, she's sweetness and light.

Here are some cubs the pride made earlier. They show their curiosity while mum sits hidden in the vegetation.

Here are some cubs the pride made earlier. They show their curiosity while mum sits hidden in the vegetation.

Cute or what?

Cute or what?

A Cheetah is the fastest land animal, capable of 80 - 128 km/h (50 - 80 mph), and has several adaptations for speed, including a light build, long thin legs and a long balancing tail.

Built for speed - long-legged, slim and with small features.

Built for speed - long-legged, slim and with small features.

On the prowl. Cheetahs wend their way though scattered scrub, looking for prey.

On the prowl. Cheetahs wend their way though scattered scrub, looking for prey.

The Cheetahs below are 'the three brothers', stars of various TV programmes. In fact there was a cameraman parked watching this group, camera ready to roll, while we were there.

The three brothers rest after a meal though they do not relax as a Lioness is approaching aiming to drive them off. Actually it worked the other way in the end and the Lioness was forced to retreat - an advantage of their alliance.

The three brothers rest after a meal though they do not relax as a Lioness is approaching aiming to drive them off. Actually it worked the other way in the end and the Lioness was forced to retreat - an advantage of their alliance.

The eyes closing show this Cheetah was unconcerned about our presence - in the feline world, closing one's eyes in the presence of another is the ultimate sign of trust.

The eyes closing show this Cheetah was unconcerned about our presence - in the feline world, closing one's eyes in the presence of another is the ultimate sign of trust.

The fur around this Cheetah's mouth is still pink with the blood of its previous victim.

The fur around this Cheetah's mouth is still pink with the blood of its previous victim.

What big eyes you have!

What big eyes you have!

I specifically asked to find a Leopard, which I had never seen. We arrived at a thicket where we were told a Leopard was hiding, almost completely invisible to us. Incredible - a head emerges ...

I specifically asked to find a Leopard, which I had never seen. We arrived at a thicket where we were told a Leopard was hiding, almost completely invisible to us. Incredible - a head emerges ...

... then the shoulders, eyes fixed directly upon us ...

... then the shoulders, eyes fixed directly upon us ...

... and finally a male Leopard comes fully into the open, spray-marks his territory and ambles off.

... and finally a male Leopard comes fully into the open, spray-marks his territory and ambles off.

But he was clearly relaxed about us, eyes closing in complete trust as he stops, poses, then goes on his way.

But he was clearly relaxed about us, eyes closing in complete trust as he stops, poses, then goes on his way.

A Hyena carries a backbone, part skull and horns of a Wildebeest, probably the remains of a lion kill.

A Hyena carries a backbone, part skull and horns of a Wildebeest, probably the remains of a lion kill.

A Jackall waits patiently for the third-hand spoils of the Hyena's meal.

A Jackall waits patiently for the third-hand spoils of the Hyena's meal.

After sneaking a couple of quick mouthfulls, the Jackall tires of waiting and trots off.

After sneaking a couple of quick mouthfulls, the Jackall tires of waiting and trots off.

Baboons are omnivores, eating plants, invertebrates, small mammals and birds.

Baboons are omnivores, eating plants, invertebrates, small mammals and birds.

These are but a few of the photos of carnivores I collected on this trip. I look at the low resolution pictures taken on a Panasonic FZ38 with teleconverter and wish I had then had a better camera. But the photos bring back powerful memories and, I hope, show you something of the magic of the Mara.

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Nancy Andrea D 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Wow ... what an interesting series. 
Ok, I have a stupid and naive question - I presume you were in a vehicle - like what I sometimes see in TV documentaries? I did checked on one of those safari  photography trips quite sometime back and I remembered being showed a sort of a pick-up where it could sit 6 people. My first reaction (of course silently to myself) was that I do not want to sit in the middle ....

6 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Robin Fuller Replied to Nancy Andrea D 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Nancy, sorry to have taken so long to answer your questions - I hadn't looked at the Mara posts for a while. Yes we were in 4x4s. Luckily there were just two of us with the driver and spotter. If you travel with low cost outfits on big reserves you are much more likely to be crammed 6 to a vehicle. Even then, each person has a "window seat" - though of course there are no windows. But its more difficult to get personalised conversations with the guides and harder to control the pace. Safaris like Porini appeal to the more devoted game watcher and give a better experience.  Over several safaris, most with greater numbers, most people were good company on board. It's the luck of the draw as to whether you happen to arrive at a quiet time - as we did - or end up in a larger group. But you usually have the option to pay for a private safari which probably will not add hugely to the overall costs of your holiday. I think it's worth it for the peace, the personalised tour and the better chance to get to know your guides. Anyway, I love safari and would go 2 people or 6. Tomorrow if I could!

5 months, 4 weeks ago Edited
Nancy Andrea D Replied to Robin Fuller 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Thank you Robin for taking the time to reply to my curiosity. Thanks for the advice and I really 'travel' with your photos. Thanks for sharing your photos.

5 months, 4 weeks ago Edited
Bob Chappell 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Fantastic set of images Robin, excellent work.

6 months, 4 weeks ago Edited
Fernando Bourgon 7 months ago

The important thing is the magnificent collection of photos you shared. The secondary is the camera. Thank you Robin for sharing some of your memories.

7 months ago Edited
Robin Fuller Replied to Fernando Bourgon 7 months ago

A pleasure to shre them.

7 months ago Edited
Berckmans Peter 7 months ago

Good results. I used a FZ45 for many years and was pretty pleased with it.

7 months ago Edited
Robin Fuller Replied to Berckmans Peter 7 months ago

I seem to have used a 2560 x 1920 image size on some photos despite better resolutions being available - and it shows. Probably at the time I was worried about the rate I was getting through the SD card on a safari with so much to photograph. Crazy!

7 months ago Edited
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