Wildlife in our Garden

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Particularly fascinating is the wildlife in Uganda. Last night our dog went crazy and began barking and trying to leap up one of the tall trees in our garden. When we investigated, there was a Serval (wild) cat looking down on us from above. It had a very small head with huge pointy ears, a striped tail and its body was dappled like a leopard, but otherwise it was the size of a normal housecat. Unfortunately the picture is a little dark as the cat was far above in the tree.

Sometimes we are also visited by monkeys who are very playful and jump wildly in the garden. These creatures are enormously curious. Here’s a photo of a Vervet monkey who wanted to become acquainted with our English cat. However, she remained asleep despite the monkey trying its best to wake her.

There are thousands of different kinds of birds, wonderfully multicolored, small and large, which sing the entire day in the surrounding trees. Only at night do the many voices grow silent. Often the birds come down to the lawn in search of insects, particularly, after it has been cut. There are so many birds that neither the dogs nor cats pay any attention to them any more.

If one works in the garden, then you’ll find everywhere well hidden Chameleons, which blend in with the colour of their environment. They are very strange animals, almost prehistoric. They are not fearful at all and can be touched and handled for closer viewing.

In the whole two years of residency in Uganda we have only had two snakes in our garden, both Boomslangs (tree snakes). Only once have I seen a snake crossing the road as I was travelling by car through a swamp. These animals are very shy and avoid humans, especially as we do not belong in their food chain. It is said that only large pythons go looking for human meals and sometimes incidents are reported here where pythons have devoured adult Ugandans.

To what extent these are only rumours I do not know, but there is a well-known story that a security guard of the GTZ office went missing one night and a couple of days later a huge python was found in the compound with his crushed body inside it. The speculation was that the guard was drunk on duty but the python needs only seconds to coil itself around a victim and crush it to death, making any attempt at escape impossible.

Also very fascinating are the many Geckos which appear in the evenings on the white walls inside and outside the house. These strange animals look nearly transparent and if one of our cats catches one, they shed their tail to distract their predator and then run. The tail continues to squirm around like a small worm and I have experienced the tail continuing to wriggle on its own for up to half an hour after being detached.

We are in the process of packing and leaving Uganda; but the wild life will be surely one of the things we will miss most, when we now go back to England.