Funny how most people go to game parks and look for the “big five” and nothing else. They will spend the entire day sitting in the car surrounded by other cars and buses and, that night at the braai fire, they say that it was a bad day – nothing was seen except a few impala.
If they just looked around the chalet, it would be amazing just how much there is to see. Just look around Leisure Bay and even in your own garden.
I built a fish pond a short while ago and still have not stocked it with fish. Almost immediately after filling it with water, some dragon flies landed on dead forest pink hibiscus shoots that were moved with the rocks. I stood watching for quite a long time, amazed at the delicate wings giving off bright glittering colours as they opened and closed.
A few days later I was peering at some water skates on the pond. A huge fishing spider was watching them too from one of the stones in the water. A frog has taken up residence too. In fact even before filling the pond I went out one morning to discover a poor golden mole that had fallen into the empty pond. Fortunately, it was not hurt, so I hauled it out and placed it on a bare patch, hoping it would find its way home.
From L-R: Golden mole; Dragon fly; Spittle bug; Garden orb spider; Fishing Spider; Gutteral toad; Natal Green snake.
All attracted by one tiny garden pond. Don't forget the night adder! Bite is something less than a bee sting..... antihistamine only ....
The golden mole, like spiders, feeds on many insect pests in the garden. They do not eat bulbs and so should be tolerated in the garden. Snakes are also very useful around the home. The smaller ones like the Natal green snake and the spotted bush snake eat geckoes, and last year a green mamba overwintering in my attic removed all the rats. I no longer use poisons – if you leave it all to nature for a while things sort themselves out.
A large number of owls have been poisoned by eating poisoned animals. And if you use insecticides in your garden, you destroy both the good and the bad insects. At present there is a problem with bees dying out due to some or other disease. There are also numerous bees being poisoned by insecticides on flowering plants and fruit trees. Without the bees man will not survive. Butterflies are involved too. Not only are these creatures beautiful, but they are immensely useful to man.
Someone asked a few days ago why there were no chameleons in Leisure Bay. Among other things, the monkeys eat lizards, chameleons and birds eggs which they steal from the nests. The crowned eagle in turn feeds on baby monkeys. The night adder’s favourite food is frog. This is nature at work, so we have to accept this.
Leisure Bay has a huge population of bats which feed on moths and fruit. I love listening to the fruit bats calling. If you have any fruit in your garden you will almost certainly see bat teeth marks on the fruit.
Encourage as much small wildlife into your garden by planting indigenous shrubs and trees and nature will maintain its balance in Leisure Bay.
The problem is that man has interfered with nature to the extent that there are not enough predators of things like monkeys, and as a result there are too many of them. To complicate matters, visitors ( and residents ) regard these animals as pets. They forget that they are wild animals and feed them. As a result the monkeys expect humans to feed them and, if they don’t get food, will help themselves.
This can be said of many other creatures that should live comfortably alongside man. The moment man interferes, they become pests.
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