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Predators/ open or closed windows?

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alleycat
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Re: INTRO and opinion on long awaited question

Unread postby alleycat » Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:40 pm

I find the comments fascinating and agree that we cant read there minds yet as Imberbe points out.

Here's some further thought, when is the degree of breaking your silhouette gone to far, we know if you step out that's not good.

How about the game rangers in Kruger that patrol on bicycles, do they walk past big 5 knowing they will run away, or do they peddle past as gentle as possible knowing that their silhouette is part of the bike. :hmz:

Would a stuffed animal on the tracker seat invoke the same casual lion walk by?

It certainly puts an open window in perspective when considering the other things we do to get up close and personal.

I still have huge respect for the fact that they can switch from placid sleepy cats to alert and dangerous within a blink of an eye.
As for the ellies, my family control how close I get by the anxiety noise volume , a long lens is needed in most cases. :thumbs_up:

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Re: INTRO and opinion on long awaited question

Unread postby johanrebel » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:00 pm

Don't ask me what goes on in a lion's or leopard's mind, I don't know, nor does anybody else.
I'm pretty sure, though, that the brighter animals do not see a vehicle as a single unit.
Although the concept of live animals using an inanimate object for transportation is beyond their comprehension, they know and recognize the occupants exactly for what they are.
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to support this.
To name a few examples:

The don't-poke-the-cat video clip clearly shows that the leopard knew who her tormentor was and how to get at him.

The leopard that jumped onto the back of a bakkie and severely mauled the two guys sitting there did not for a minute think it was attacking the vehicle, it went specifically for the people.
This same leopard had minutes earlier attacked two cyclists, not the bikes they were riding.

I know from personal experience that lions can recognize dogs in vehicles by sight from an amazing distance, even when the dogs are small (designer corgis, in this instance) and only poke their heads out. The vehicle was approaching from downwind, so scent played no role whatsoever.

Man-eating lions in Tanzania have been known to break through the walls of straw huts to get at the people inside.
They clearly understand the hut is not a "unit", but a container holding food in the form of edible humans.

Just like a lion that sees the head of an impala protruding above a bush understands that he is actually seeing an impala behind a bush, not a bush with an impala head, the lion also comprehends that the heads he sees through the car windows belong to the human beings inside, and are not parts of the vehicle itself. The difference is that bushes have been around for as long as there have been lions, whereas cars are the new kids on the block.
Lions have adjusted to the latter amazingly quickly and rationally, as best as their limited intelligence and experience allows.

Johan

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Re: INTRO and opinion on long awaited question

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:13 pm

Johanrebel, I just want to comment on your post and I think it is very interesting.

A few years ago, I did a sponsored walk, which went through Johannesburg Zoo.

Towards the finish we went past the Lion enclosure. A few metres ahead of me a blind person was walking with a dog.

To my astonishment, the Lions, smelt the dog.. and although far away, started stalking the dog. They had murder on their minds.

Humans, just held no attraction.
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Predators/ open or closed windows?

Unread postby JR_CPT » Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:12 am

I am always astounded to see people taking photos of nearby predators through open car windows. One memorable occasion was when two male lions were walking down the tar road near LS - one serious photographer (judging by lens length) was driving alongside them and took photos from a completely open window barely a meter away from the one male.

Is this safe? (He was not hanging out the car - so technically no rules broken.) Would the lion still see him and the car as one despite the open window?

I look forward to hearing from the amateur zoologists out there.

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Re: Predators and open windows

Unread postby PetraJ » Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:19 am

Ha ha ha, if this was on Sunday July 1st, it could have been us?
A lioness tried to hitch a ride first with me, come running from the riverbed, crossed the road behind us and suddenly appeared again on the driver's side coming at speed straight at us again and again just crossed behind us back to the riverbed.
Both times it happened so quickly we struggled to get the windows closed in time.
And yeah both times it felt like she made eye contact :lol:

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Re: Predators and open windows

Unread postby Crested Val » Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:27 am

We were near Croc Bridge last November, when we spotted a lovely collared lioness sitting a short distance away in the bush.
Eventually another car pulled up, and we were both enjoying the sighting, when the lioness got up and walked towards us.
We wound up our window, but the other car didn't, and we were horrified to see the old girl made a bee line for that car and let out a really loud roar.
Still the driver of the other car was busy taking photos through the open window, and we were so worried that the lioness would bite off his head!!!
Luckily she eventually moved on to the other side of the road..............but how irresponsible of that person!!!

As soon as a big cat approaches our car, we always wind up, just to be on the safe side. :shock:
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Re: Predators and open windows

Unread postby cheetah2111 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:51 am

It is difficult to council those people JR!
Some people know the risks, but are just reckless characters. I take some chances :wink:
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Re: Predators and open windows

Unread postby cheetah2111 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:57 am

This one gave me a savage look!
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Re: Predators and open windows

Unread postby Dabchick » Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:41 am

DuQues wrote:I always do too. Only close the windows for rain or baboons & vervets.


:lol: me to!

That said, I once closed the windows about halfway for a young male lion (less than a year old) in the Kgalagadi (KTP). He could obviously see us inside the vehicle (I know this from his behaviour and how his eyes focussed on us), and was interested in what was going on.... :shock:

I've not yet seen a lion in the KNP that is interested in what goes on inside the vehicle, but if anything sticks out (lens, elbow, finger), they immediately focus on it.

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Re: Predators and open windows

Unread postby bert » Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:43 am

Only close for baboons and predators getting real close

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Re: Predators and open windows

Unread postby Rooies » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:29 pm

In my opinion, one should look at the statistics in order to decide what the appropriate action is when being confronted by a perceived dangerous situation.
I have to read about a large predator plucking a person out of a vehicle or even jumping into a vehicle.
If there were such incidents, it would have been reported world wide because the sensational value of such an incident.

I agree that the baboons and monkeys poses a greater danger than lion lions and leopards, but what are the prevalence of attacks by baboons and/or other animals.
I have read about the primates taking food by force, but serious injuries?

Having said that, if in doubt, close the windows.
Don't try to be a cowboy.
One incident where a person was attacked will dent the image of any park.
Two million visitors may visit a park without incident, and nobody will tell the media about their uneventful visit, but one attack will certainly be on the front pages. (And a full article in 'Die Huisgenoot' :twisted: )
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Re: Predators and open windows

Unread postby Butterbee » Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:30 pm

I also close the window if a predator gets too close, but close the window immediately if i just see baboons in the road. We've had a bunch of them climb onto our car before, they are pretty intimidating creatures when you're up close. (and even more so when you're on foot near them!)

But...
what about game drive vehicles? Not the big ones, but the regular smaller 11 seater ones.
I have experienced a leopard at touching distance next to the vehicle.....and he was completely relaxed.

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Re: Predators and open windows

Unread postby Rooies » Fri Jul 06, 2012 7:02 pm

Yes, I can remember these pics, but was it a deliberate decision by the lion to get inside the car or was it perhaps the smell of last night's braai meat still left on the door knob that attracted the lion?
How would a lion know how to open a door?
But, if a lion starts to learn where there is easy meat, they will continue following that method of hunting.
Look at what the "Man eaters of Tsavo" has done.
If lions discover that the easiest way to get some food is by jumping through a car window, they will continue doing that.
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Re: Predators and open windows

Unread postby DuQues » Fri Jul 06, 2012 7:10 pm

Butterbee wrote:I have experienced a leopard at touching distance next to the vehicle.....and he was completely relaxed.

I could not contort my body enough, and anyway it happened too fast for photos...
But on a drive in a place I will not mention we were at a leopards mating sighting.
We were in 11-seaters, very near them, which they did not seem to care about, just continuing "the business".
During one of the pauses the female walked up to the truck behind us, got onto her hind legs, and in a totally relaxed way sniffed at the elbow of a young girl seated there.
The girl did not seem to be too frightened, evidence may have proved me wrong ( :D ), but the leopard was just looking. Who are you?

Yes, they know that there are people in the cars.
They know it very well actually.
But maybe because of the vehicle around you they can choose to ignore it?
I have had eye contact with big male lions in KTP, just 3 meters or such away, which in no uncertain way told me to stay in the car. (I have had many cats, you learn the body language.)
But mostly they choose the ignore option.
Or the large fun, the grab the bumper/license plate and tear it off option.
Which is probably on par with the pierce the tires and then stay around to see how he changes it one. But those are usually the younger ones.
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Re: Predators and open windows

Unread postby Imberbe » Sat Jul 07, 2012 3:12 am

How many drives have I done in open vehicles, without any windows to close and gotten right next to predators and all sorts of other animals .... :hmz:

Can't count them!

If you act correctly you are quite safe.
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