WPY 2018

Photograph Details

Highly commended 2018

Behaviours Mammals

Tertius A Gous, South Africa

The Meerkat Mob

Rearing its head, an Anchieta’s cobra lunged towards two meerkat pups. Reacting instantly, their 20-strong pack ran back to the warren and split into two – half ushering the pups away, the other half advancing towards the snake, growling and fluffing up their coats. Focusing on the snake’s classic profile, Tertius caught the meerkat mob’s fear and aggression.

This scene is rare – there are few records of an Anchieta’s cobra attacking a meerkat pack. In a group, the mammals have the advantage, using a system of alarm calls to notify others of predators and to co-ordinate a mobbing of the attacker. This snake was just an opportunistic hunter looking to snatch one of the p ups before the pack arrived.

Technical specification

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV + 500mm f4 lens; 1/1000 sec at f16; ISO 640 flashes; Trailmaster trail monitor

Brandberg Mountain, Erongo, Namibia: latitude -21.042765, longitude 14.767177 Brandberg Mountain, Erongo, Namibia: latitude -21.042765, longitude 14.767177

Brandberg Mountain, Erongo, Namibia

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Tertius A Gous

Tertius A Gous, South Africa

Tertius grew up in the Bushveld in South Africa and has travelled widely across Africa to study and photograph the biodiversity of the continent. He is a specialist veterinary pathologist by training but also works as a photography tour leader. As a veterinarian he often volunteers his special skills for wildlife and seabird conservation.