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 Post subject: Game viewing at full-moon
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:25 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:14 am
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
I'm just curious to know if you guys have noticed any differences in game viewing (e.g. on night drives) during a full moon. I don't mean this to be a whacky question - I'm interested if the increased light during a full moon changes the animals' behaviour at night e.g. are predators less likely to hunt because they're more easily spotted by their prey, or is it the other way around? Is there any research into this? Have you tended to have more luck on night-drives during a full moon?

More generally, do you guys prefer being in the Park during the full moon when you can see more at night around the camp, or do you prefer the new moon when you can see more stars? Just curious.


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 Post subject: Re: Game viewing at full-moon
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:15 pm 
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Welcome to the forum gazbat. The predators are less likely to hunt succesfully at full moon, but can still be seen on night drives. Personally I don't have a preference. I just want to be in a game reserve. If you are near water it is an advantage to be there at full moon because you won't need a searh light to fing/see the game coming down to drink. Otherwise No preference

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 Post subject: Re: Game viewing at full-moon
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:46 pm 
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My experience through the years in the park and as a guide in the Sabi Sands shows that the predators tend to be active 24 hours when full moon is up, and mostly during the night when dark moon. When stormy and windy conditions occur (especially thunder storms in summer I can almost guarantee that there will be kills the next morning - if lucky enough to be close to the road.

Katmal


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 Post subject: Re: Game viewing at full-moon
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 5:20 pm 
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A friend of mine monitored lion calls at night on and off over a period of 4 years in a prime lion area in the wilderness in the central Kruger and was of the opinion there was less calling at full moon .

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 Post subject: Re: Game viewing at full-moon
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:08 pm 
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I don't think your question is whacky at all! I have often wondered the same thing! I wonder how many people take that in to consideration when making up their minds as to which days to book their trips. I recall one discussion about the lovely olifants riverview bungalows and whether to book them during the full moon or new. I am paraphrasing, but basically Arks said to stay long enough to do both. I like that! :D Astronomy is one thing, animals another. Or not????????????????

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 Post subject: Re: Game viewing at full-moon
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:21 pm 
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This is a very interesting topic and would love to hear from the experts...if they ever wish to show themselves again... :doh:

Just to back oom Ndloti's remark about how vocal the animals get and if I recall 2 weeks back there was no full moon out during our visit to Satara and we had lions and hyena going crazy all night long...So there must be some truth to that. :hmz: ..


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 Post subject: Re: Game viewing at full-moon
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:02 pm 
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Another study done in Southern KNP showed that lion simply do not hunt at full moon. It is not worth their while. (But never say never!) During the nights after full moon, they will hunt early in the evening, while it is still dark.

I have had the privelage of staying in the bush (no human interverence of any kind) at full moon. It is as if the sun is rising. You have almost perfect vision!

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 Post subject: Re: Game viewing at full-moon
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:48 am 
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Moon rise over the Olifants gorge with the reflection over the water reaching towards you allmost matches any absence of lion calling .

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 Post subject: Re: Game viewing at full-moon
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:58 am 
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Lions will tend to be quieter on full moon nights due to the fact that prey will see them coming from far away. I have followed lions hunting both during full moon and day time - when a predator is hungry they want to eat and it is their instinct to hunt. Especially lions - they are very opportunistic and will take ANY opportunity even if they are stuffed. Lions are also social hunters that use ambush tactics and especially during full moon will stay in one spot and be quiet. Predators will use shady spots durig full moon and daytime to hunt - leopard will move from spot to spot when hunting at full moon and during theyday and become almost invisible. My theory is that during new moon lions will roar and make a big noise to confuse their prey, especially through the males roaring from the one side which will make the prey move away and straight into the females in ambush position.

Hope this makes sense.

Katmal


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 Post subject: Re: Game viewing at full-moon
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 1:56 pm 
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Katmal, very interesting!
I personally enjoy full moon in the park, it creates such an eerie feeling. I love the full moon rising over the bushveld.
Many (full) moons ago I had the privelage of doing service in what is today a sought after wilderness area up in Africa. With the moon as our only source of light (in the bush) we were able to read letters when the moon was full!
Come to think of it, could have been the carrots :huh:

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 Post subject: Re: Game viewing at full-moon
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 1:46 am 
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Fascinating topic. I was in Kruger from 25-30 July and the lunar cycle never entered my mind (typical city slicker). The weather was much warmer and still at night than our last visit during same period - we noticed this on the night game drive - we also noticed how absolutely still and silent the bush was, not a sound or sight of owls, nor big cats. Then we realised it was dark moon (new moon was 1 Aug according to my calendar) and suddenly it made sense. The searchlight picked up groups of impala huddled together, a few bushbuck, odd duiker, a genet busily going about its business, but the only big game sighting was a group of white rhino which we disturbed crossing the road to the Sabie river. And a lone hippo blundering around in the thickets next to river. Yet the night before, at L Sabie camp, we were thrilled by the continual roaring of lions. Sounded as if they were right next to camp - I'd never heard lions roaring before, so they could well have been 5 kms away or more. Wonderful listening to them. This ties in with Katmal's theory about lions roaring at new moon to confuse their prey. And it did sound as if the roaring was coming from two different directions, maybe even two prides?

I'm no expert, but surely full or dark moon impacts on animal behaviour - would love to get an expert's opinion.

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 Post subject: Re: Game viewing at full-moon
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:05 pm 
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I would like to know what happens when there is a solar or even a lunar eclipse. Any research? :D

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 Post subject: Re: Game viewing at full-moon
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 1:31 pm 
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Hi All

In Beverly and Derick Joubert's documentary on lions, where they followed a pride 24/7 in Botswana they used to set there alarm for half an hour before moon set as the pride would only become active then. The pride would only hunt when the moon had set.

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 Post subject: Re: Game viewing at full-moon
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 1:50 pm 
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I remember reading a very interesting paper on a study somewhere up north where it was shown thatin generalthe luner cycle is shared activity wise between lion and hyena with the lions hunting mostly on dark nights and often scavanging from hyena on the lighter nights and hyena hunting on the lighter nights and scavanging from lion on the darker nights ( the more traditional line of thinking).

As a guide for may years I will say that I notice a definite trend in general behaviour through the month. If the moon is full the evening drives are almost always more successful than morning drives (I think because the animals are able to remain more active through the night and rest up in the morning). It is also notable that animals are always more nervouse in the early morning after a dark night - especialy if the morning is a cool one.

Obviously other factors also count such as wind and wether it is the first day in a weather change etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Game viewing at full-moon
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:39 pm 
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Image
Another small contributing factor to periods of hunting.
Note the white under the lion's eye that reflect more 'star' light into the eye during dark night. The hyaena does not have this benefit.


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