Walking through Rubondo forest is dangerous not only because we have hippos and elephants roaming around– we saw 2 elephants this morning on the road– but also because many of the trees and small shrubs here have thorns on them; the caterpillars and ants bite and sting us, and occasionally we also bump into the odd snake or two.

This hairy fella I stroked for several minutes, his hairs didn’t sting, so not all hairy caterpillars are dangerous. Although I wouldn’t dare touch the one below… because his spikes scream out Hatari!

The fella below I managed to accidently brush against my cheek one wet morning…it stung like hell, and left me with a rash for several days.

The palm spikes are about 3 inches long and v. painful, apparently they contain poison.

These samplings of the crocodile tree are always catching my legs in the bush.

A visitor in July unfortunately managed to impale her hand on a crocodile-tree spike whilst trying to catch herself from falling; her poor hand swelled up. This is what they eventually become (see below).

Luckily we haven’t experienced any bites from snakes…

Rock python

Here a Rock python

(photos of python by J.S.)

and Jameson’s mamba

(Photo by J.P)


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About Nadejda Josephine

I am currently studying for a doctorate in Anthropology at University College London. My fieldwork takes place on Rubondo Island, Lake Victoria in Tanzania. The research looks at the nesting patterns and nest architecture in the Rubondo chimpanzees. I began the work in April 2012 and will remain on the island until at least October 2013. I write this blog so as not to forget this wonderful island and the random events which occur throughout my fieldwork.

2 responses to “Hatari!”

  1. Michael A Huffman says :

    Hi Nadejda Josephine- I accidently came across your blog, looking for photos of chimpanzees in nests for a presentation I am giving next month. None of mine are digitized and my slide scanner is down, so I am improvising.

    Nice to learn about your work on Rubondo. Are you continuing to work there?

    Brings back fond memories of working there myself! ; – )



    • Nadejda Josephine says :

      Dear Mike, I returned to London last year, and I am now working on writing up my thesis, I hope in the near future to return to Rubondo and continue work. Happy to share photos with you. Sorry for the delayed reply I have not been checking this site for quite some time. Josephine

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