Welcome to my blog!
I will share my photography activities and experiences, and why not, provide advice regarding wildlife photography. I hope it will be lively and interactive to get as much feedback as possible.
Here are just some photos of Nile crocodiles!
The Nile crocodile is quite widespread throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and lives in different types of aquatic environments such as larger rivers, lakes, estuaries and marshes. Isolated populations also exist in Madagascar.
On average, the adult male Nile crocodile is between 3 and 5 m (10 ft and 16.5 ft) in length and weighs 200 to 725 kg (440 to 1,600 lb). However, specimens exceeding 6 m (20 ft) in length have been recorded.
The Nile crocodile is an ambush predator that can wait for hours and even days for the suitable moment to attack. Their diet consists mostly of different species of fish, reptiles, birds and mammals.
The Nile crocodile is one of the most dangerous species of crocodile and is responsible for hundreds of human deaths every year.
The great white shark
8 km off the coast of Gansbaai, “Dyer Island” and “Geyser Rock” are two tiny islands sheltering thousands of Cape fur seals, which are among the favourite meal of the white shark! Attracted by this meat safe, the sharks proliferate in these waters. An estimated population of 200 of these specimens is reckoned to live in the region. Obviously, it is not always the same individual since the white sharks are very nomadic. Recently, it has been proved, by the help of an electronic marking (a satellite positioning device), that a white shark can effectuate a round trip between South Africa and Australia in 6 months, which represents more than 22’000 km!
Because of its strength and its considerable size (on average between 3 and 4 metres, and a maximum of 6 metres), the white shark can be potentially dangerous for Man. However, in reality, we are much more harmful for it. Millions of sharks are slaughtered each year around the globe, mainly for their fins that are reputed to have aphrodisiac properties or simply hunted down for the prestige. The film “Jaws” has harmed the protection of this species, seen as a bloody beast when in fact, the white shark brings about lesser fatal accidents for the humans. We can try as much to warn that the risk of being attacked is extremely rare, that sharks kill Man less than bees, and to add that most victims have on their own endangered themselves; this will not be enough to forget the traumatizing images of the film. In most cases, the white shark bites a human by mistake. If it attacks a swimmer or a surfer, it is often because it has mistaken them for one of its habitual preys. This is the case for surfers who lie on their boards and who, seen from below, resemble a sea lion that white sharks are mad about.
In 1991, South Africa becomes the first country to declare the great white shark as a protected species. Unfortunately, after millions of years of indisputable supremacy, they are now fighting for their survival. This should have the force to convince us that when the white shark meets Man, it is generally the shark, which is in more danger!
We embark a ship in the direction of Dyer Island. Having reached the famous “Shark Alley”, the ship is anchored and the cage takes a plunge. A long waiting moment has started and can last for hours. We are impatient, pacing up and down the embarkation trying to locate the tiniest signs that herald the presence of a shark, our eyes riveted on the water. A shout tears finally the silence: "a fin on the left!". Some metres away, a dorsal fin appears on the surface of the ocean. The animal slides through the water with an unbelievable grace and seems to swim further away. The fugitive silhouette plays on our nerves. It prowls around the ship and the cage, which confines four wide-eyed divers, bathing in waters of 14 degrees. A big deception: the visibility does not go beyond one metre in these much-agitated waters; it is practically impossible to observe the king of the ocean. Highly frustrated, we decide to focus our observation from the deck of the ship, dry and warm, which turns out to be not a so-bad idea since our visitors do not hesitate to come to the surface, their jaws wide-opened and menacing. Even though the white sharks are present all year round, the best period to observe them stretches from May to October since they are many in numbers. However, we will learn much later that the best season is the month of June, during this period, the visibility is good and allows us to admire them easily in clear waters.
On the surface, a tuna head linked to a float is used to lure the shark. At times, the shark hesitates, prowls around the bait, cautious and suspicious, inspecting and then finally, deciding to catch it with calm and tact, it is quite amazing! We are far from the barbarity of “Jaws”… At other times, it does not hesitate at all; surfacing violently, it snaps up the fish and shakes it in frenzy. It all seems unreal, as the strength, which is coming from the shark, is impressive. The bait ends up in pieces under the stare of the few braves who have remained in the cage.
We can ask the well founded question of the tourist excursions where the shark has turned into a circus animal and provides a significant livelihood for the many operators who share among themselves this lucrative market. However, if these excursions are organized while respecting the animal and its environment, then it will become an educational tool. It is finally the only way to observe this fabulous animal, which cannot live in captivity. We should stop dreading this animal and start instead its protection, as the white shark is much less dangerous than its reputation.
Either way, we will keep the image of the king of the ocean, which certainly does not deserve to be slaughtered and have his fins swimming in a bowl of soup!
Do you know why this gorilla has a Human look?
Maybe because this gorilla has some white in its eyes!
The white around our pupils is called the sclera. Years ago, it was believed that we were the only primates with white sclera. Astonishingly some gorillas have white in their eyes too. That’s quite rare, but just like us, they have no pigmentation in their eyes.
30% of gorillas have dark sclera, 60% have some degree of white in their eyes and only 10% have all white, human-like sclera.
White sclera may be found in other apes too (bonobos, orangutans and chimpanzees).
The region of Cape Town is is an excellent starting point to observe the southern right whales that winter very close to the coasts during the months of June to October. The small town of Hermanus, a seaside resort located 120 km from Cape Town, provides shelter to the marine sanctuary “Walker Bay”. It is most probably one of the best places in the world to observe the southern right whales.
More photos of whales? Have a look here: http://www.fabricebettex.photography/whale-photos
The village weaver (Ploceus cucullatus) is also known as the spotted-backed weaver or black-headed weaver.
Originally from Sub-Saharan Africa the Village Weaver has been introduced to Mauritius and Reunion Island.
Male builds woven nest made of grass and leaf strips with a downward facing entrance which is suspended from a branch in a tree. The Village weaver forms large noisy colonies with up to 100 nests in a single tree. These colonies are frequently seen near human habitation.
Male is very active in breeding season. When nest is built, the male carries out a courtship display to attract female. It hangs beneath his nest, and with fluttering wings, while it is calling to attract a mate. After inspecting a number of nests, the female breeds with the owner of the nest that meets her approval. After the first nest is built and first female incubates, male builds another nest and tries to attract another female.
Female lays 2 to 3 eggs, incubates the eggs and rears the young alone. The eggs hatch after about 14 days. The nestlings will stay within the nest for 17-21 days before leaving.
Village Weaver forages on the ground, it feeds principally on seeds and insects. It feeds on rice and fruit when available.
More photos of Village Weaver? Have a look here: http://www.fabricebettex.photography/weaver-photos
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