Sociable weaver birds often have large nests around campsites, and are friendly little birds, a bit like our sparrows. They turned out to be good friends as well as good photo subjects! We'd been camping in the same spot for a couple of days and the birds often came to clear up our crumbs, but one day they started to mass beside a log and make a terrible racket. Looking more closely we saw there was a horned viper very well camouflaged under it. We'd collected kindling from that area so we were glad our little friends had given us the warning. The snake soon got fed up with the noise and moved on, and we were a little more careful picking up wood from then on.
LISABukalders LRPS CPAGB EFIAP
nature and wildlife photography
Campsite visitors and a few creatures to watch out for when in the bush, especially if you're a long way from help! No animals should be encouraged by feeding, it's dangerous for animals to associate humans with food.
Snakes and scorpions: One of the biggest dangers because although they tend to avoid humans you could surprise one by mistake or step on one. I've found snakes in open toilets and under rocks and bushes. The puffadder is renowned for not moving away when approached, so is most often stepped on accidentally, so you have to watch your step.
Hyaenas: Hyaenas are cheekier than lions and will raid a campsite for anything they can carry off, so you never leave anything around at night. They've been known to carry off metal trunks and camp chairs. They have also been known to attack people, it's unusual but it has happened.
Mice, squirrels & mongoose: Mice are not a danger to the person but they do tend to nibble important wires and tubes on vehicles, so if you find them under (or in) the car you have to check everything is intact! Squirrels & mongoose are curious visitors but rarely a pest.
Elephants: Elephants wouldn't normally harm humans, but as with any creature if they feel threatened (you block off an 'escape route', for example) or get between a mother and baby, they could cause damage. When camping in elephant country, never take fruit, especially citrus fruit. They will wreck a car or tent to get at it. They have even been known to wreck a tent because someone had citrus shampoo.
Baboons and monkeys: I've saved the worst for last. I like most creatures including snakes, but I make an exception for baboons, or rather, baboons which have become habituated to humans. They understand that humans have food, and round campsites can be a danger as well as a pest, as they can be very aggressive.
We have learnt not to try and prepare food if a baboon troop is around, (they go to bed at dusk), on one occasion a huge male tried to steal a 10 kilo sack of potatoes, our 2 weeks supply, he lifted it with ease and a tug-of-war ensued, luckily we got it back but certainly couldn't turn our back on the angry baboon again. They'll jump in any open vehicle and steal anything they can, food-related or not. They are very intelligent, they can get into 'baboon-proof' bins with ease, have learnt how to open car doors using the handles in some places, and have also been known to send baby baboons into houses through cat flaps or small spaces to open the windows from inside and let the others in! Our only 'tool' is a catapult. You don't have to use it, and I wouldn't, but if they are habituated to humans they have had experience with locals using a catapult to hurt them., so the mere action of holding up a catapult and doing the action will at least put them off for a while.
Vervet monkeys can also mount raids on your food, but are generally easier to scare away.