Leopard or Mouse: An evening to remember

Published on 2 October 2023 at 12:33

Leopard or mouse. ...
We are roughing it big time in a tent camp in the central Serengeti. After a safari today, I was working (thanks Elon Musk for the satellite) and the boys were playing with legos just inside the screen tent door (there is a second door made of canvas that you close at night). As dusk fell, we were still working and playing. I heard the Maasai warrior security dude say a bunch of Swahili stuff that I didn't understand. Suddenly I hear him say "leopard" loudly while shining the flashlight on our tent. I told the boys to move away from the door. They ignored me, as per usual, then I said “there's a f**** leopard outside get away from the door”. They listened. Emily and the boys hid under the bed and I stood there in the middle of our tent with an umbrella and what is basically a modern day rape whistle (it makes a loud noise and flashes). If the leopard entered, I was prepared for … nothing … probably best bet would be to stick the umbrella up my ass and pull the rape whistle to show the leopard just how crazy I am. The leopard's noise (not sure if it's more of a meow or a roar ) was right outside and not super comforting.

Eventually the Maasai warrior came over and zipped our second canvas door up and said he would return to get us to walk to dinner across the camp to the main open aired dining area. Sure enough 15 mins later, he said the leopard was far enough away and the other noises we heard were lions in the distance. We went and ate dinner, feeling super comfortable while the Maasai warrior kept watch with his flashlight.

The boys played with butter knives and forks explaining to all the Tanzanian employees how they would kill the leopard if it comes back. The Tanzanian people are so sweet and so nice, except when it comes to being honest about nature. They continued to tell the boys that the leopard would kill them if they go outside alone or if the leopard wanted to. Most likely the leopard won't claw through the tent, just come up to it looking for water. They also told the boys it is wrong to kill an animal. The boys asked, "what if it was attacking us"? They said, it doesn't matter this is their territory and we are the animals guests. You can not.

The Maasai warrior walked us back to our tent with his weapon of choice , a flashlight. Emily went to the bathroom (amazingly this tent has a toilet, but only a bucket shower and small tin bucket sink). We heard a scream. I expected Emily to yell “leopard”.  Instead she yelled "rat"!!! . I jumped into my shoes and was ready to run outside to escape the rat. When I came to my senses, I just jumped on the bed and stood there wondering why the hell we are on a safari. The rat (which sounded more like the size of a mouse) ran into the bucket shower drain which is a few planks of wood over a hole in the ground (sure snakes can't get in there too). When Em came out of the bathroom, all three of us boys were standing on the beds.  Now Em and the boys are going to sleep. I'm listening to hyena and lion calls in the distance and wondering if the leopard is going to return for an umbrella show. WTF ... sure I'll sleep tonight. 


Update: After finally falling asleep, Em and I wake up to a hyena calling while walking between our tent and our neighbors. You could hear his footsteps on our canvas "porch". He stopped there, started making his howling sound again. Em and I both sat up quickly, looking around. I asked, "Is that a hyena or a leopard, Em reassumed me it was only a "hyena", what a relief. I thought hearing a neighbors dog barking outside at night waking me up was bad! Are there any direct flights from the Central Serengeti to PA? 

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Karen Mary Schaefer
9 months ago

Ha ha! Paul, you're a funny writer!!