As much as there is to enjoy at Likweti Bushveld Farm Estate during the day, the Estate comes alive at night with some very special nocturnal animals.
At Likweti Bushveld Farm Estate, we take pride in preserving the natural environment. That is why 90% of the Estate’s 765-hectares will be left unspoilt. This vast, natural environment is home to free roaming plains game like giraffe, zebra, blue wildebeest, kudu, sable, nyala, but also several amazing nocturnal animals.
We have compiled a list of some of our favourite nocturnal animals at Likweti Bushveld Farm Estate:
The large-spotted genet, (Genetta tigrina) also known as the Cape genet is a genet species endemic to South Africa.
They are often found in well-watered areas and fairly dense vegetation.
Large-spotted genets are ash grey with brown irregular spots and a black stripe along the spine. Its snout is white with white spots below the eye. Their ears are grey. They have a black and white banded tail with a black tip. Some individuals living in moist areas are darker than individuals from drier areas.
Like other genets, they are nocturnal. During the day, they rest in trees high above the ground. They are both terrestrial and arboreal, but hunt and feed on the ground. This is a solitary species, only occurring in groups during the mating season. Well wooded and watered areas are preferred habitats, particularly forests and closed woodlands. Some dense vegetation for shelter and close proximity to water are essential habitat requirements.
The bulk of their diet consists of rodents and other small mammals such as insectivores, whereas birds, snakes and amphibians are secondary prey. Invertebrates only make up a small portion of its diet. Will also ingest fruit.
The fiery-necked nightjar (Caprimulgus pectoralis) is a species of nightjar in the family Caprimulgidae, which occurs in Africa south of the equator.
Nightjars are often spotted sitting on roads just after sundown. It is Insectivorous, with most of its diet made up of beetles and moths. It usually forages at dusk, before dawn or in the middle of the night, as long as the moon is full enough to provide a bit of light. Most of hunting is done from perch on a tree branch, stump or fence post, making repeated forays out into the night, catching an insect before returning to its perch to feed.
As nocturnal visual hunters, nightjars have excellent eyesight. Their large eyes are there to effect good night vision, allowing the maximum amount of light to enter the eye socket in low light conditions.
Because they are so large, their shiny eyes are conspicuous by day and nightjars will close their eyes to escape detection when resting up, incubating eggs or if threatened. The reflective layer of cells found behind the retina in these birds’ eyes assists with improved nocturnal vision. This layer shines red in the headlights of an approaching vehicle making nightjars easy to spot after dark.
Nightjars have exquisitely well-developed cryptic colouration, their mottled brown patterns merging them perfectly into the leafy litter of the bushveld understorey. During the day it is extremely difficult to find nightjars as they sit unmoving and rely on their crypsis to keep them hidden.
Nightjar species are very difficult to distinguish between, all of them having similar cryptic colouration. They do vary slightly in features such as the amount of white on the tail feathers but the most reliable way of discerning between species is to listen to their calls. The most iconic of African night sounds is the ‘Good Lord deliver us…’ chant of the Fiery-necked Nightjar. The sound of the Square-tailed nightjar is also a common night-time sound in the Lowveld. It is a protracted purring noise made at different pitches and sounds a little like a small engine changing gears.
The white-tailed mongoose (Ichneumia albicauda) is a species in the mongoose family Herpestidae. It is the only member of the genus Ichneumia.
The white-tailed mongoose is primarily nocturnal and terrestrial. By day they will rest in an abandoned burrow, termite mound, or in cavities under tree roots. They are mainly solitary, but may live in small clans. Their distribution in South Africa ranges from the eastern parts of the Northern Province, through Mpumalanga as far southwards as East London.
The diet of the White-Tailed Mongoose consists mainly of insects, termites, beetles, grasshoppers, and crickets. Known to also take amphibians, rodents, and snakes.
White-tailed mongooses are one of the lesser-known mongoose, probably due to their nocturnal habits. They are however very vocal creatures and make an unusual barking sound that is associated with mating behaviour.
The Spotted Eagle-Owl (Bubo africanus) also known as the African spotted eagle-owl and the African eagle-owl, is a medium-sized species of owl, one of the smallest of the eagle owls. Its prey mainly consists of rodents, small mammals, birds, insects, and reptiles. Although it has a dietary preference for small mammals such as rodents and shrews
This nocturnal bird of prey lives and breeds in a variety of habitats including open scrub, grassland, savanna woodland, forest patches and forest edges. They are often referred to as urban owls because they will live in close proximity to human habitation.
Spotted Eagle-Owls roost during the day, either in trees or among rocks. At sunset they fly out to a perch to hunt. From the perch they scan the ground for movement, using both their eyes and ears to detect it, flying silently in pursuit of whatever suitable prey they see. While roosting they make themselves as inconspicuous as possible, drawing their feathers tightly to their body and closing their eyes to hide any tell-tale glint and sitting dead still. At dusk they are quite conspicuous, perched in prominent positions and calling.
Honey badgers are predominantly a nocturnal species, but in some areas, they switch from being predominantly nocturnal in summer to diurnal in Winter. In areas where honey badgers are affected by human activities, they are usually nocturnal.
Honey badgers don’t typically settle in the same spot at the end of each night, and can easily make a new bed in a tree, rock crevice or hole dug into the ground where they will sleep for most of the day. These creatures are expert diggers and can build a burrow in hard ground in just 10 minutes. Honey badgers will just as happily make themselves at home in an abandoned aardvark or mongoose burrow.
The African civet (Civettictis civetta) is a large viverrid native to sub-Saharan Africa, where it is considered common and widely distributed in woodlands and secondary forests.
The African civet is primarily nocturnal and spends the day sleeping in dense vegetation but wakes up at sunset. It often inhabits savannahs, forests, and sometimes near rivers as the tall grasses and thickets present provide them with necessary cover during the day.
It is a solitary mammal with a unique coloration: the black and white blotches covering its coarse pelage and rings on the tail are an effective cryptic pattern. The black bands surrounding its eyes closely resemble those of the raccoon. Other distinguishing features are its disproportionately large hindquarters and its erectile dorsal crest. It is an omnivorous generalist, preying on small vertebrates, invertebrates, eggs, carrion, and vegetable matter. It is one of the few carnivores capable of eating toxic invertebrates such as termites and millipedes. It detects prey primarily by smell and sound rather than by sight. It is the only living member of the genus Civettictis.