Nine lives?

08/10/2014 15:19

Written by Mike Unwin

Among the tamer wildlife you might encounter at Phophonyane Falls Nature Reserve is Rod and Lungile’s cat, Iggy. That is, if his luck has held since I last visited. Life may seem pretty good for Iggy, as he sprawls on the sunlit patio of the family residence. But this is Africa. Lungile recounts one hair-raising incident when she was home alone and heard a mighty crash from downstairs, followed by a terrified Iggy rocketing past her. Venturing down to look, she found an adult crowned eagle spreadeagled, literally, on the dining room table.

She found an adult crowned eagle spreadeagled, literally, on the dining room table.

This huge raptor, a bird that frequently captures monkeys in its skull-crushing talons, had swooped at Iggy on the patio but missed its target, followed through into the house and knocked itself senseless against the back wall. As Lungile wondered what to do next the eagle came back to life and, with one flap of its 2m wings, launched itself back out of the French windows and into the forest. Big birds are not the only hazard: just before my last visit, Rod had helped a neighbour remove a large python from an adjoining property – with his cat still inside it. Iggy was duly warned.

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