Israel Wolf and Hyena

Hi all,

I’ve just re-discovered this site, having not visited it for some time, and found out what a great resource the forum is in addition to the trip reports available. I’ve booked a flight to Israel next week. It’s my 4th trip and I’m planning a fairly laid-back and flexible week combining birds, mammals and general natural history, mainly in Negev/Arava. I’ve just read through Steve Babb’s post asking for gen on Hyena and thought I’d follow up with a request on any particular recent hot spots for this species and/or Wolf. I’ve also just had contact also with Mark Hows who gave some more details of their sightings last year, so will try that spot out for sure (by Mitzpe Ramon), but if anyone has any more recent tips, that would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

Nick Littlewood


  • tomeslice

    Like I said in Steve’s post, the hills behind Shoham have been known to have hyenas recently.. I’ve only been there once before I had my good torch, and didn’t see one but I did see a mustelid which would have been a marten or a Polecat.

    But there have been recurring photos of hyenas in the midst of all the bright red anemones that have been blooming over the past month or so, on the Facebook group “mammals of Israel”. I’m currently on a business trip to the States so I haven’t had the opportunity to check where exactly these photos were taken… Plus they don’t say exact location for obvious reasons, but I can find out when I get back there.


  • Nick Littlewood

    Thanks for the information, Tomer. Just got back from Israel last night. I did check out the vulture feeding site at Mitzpe Ramon on three dates (though not at night) but there was no fresh carcass and no mammals seen there. A great trip had nonetheless. Mammal highlight was probably a group of 8 Onagers and also a Desert Hedgehog. Also a cat that looked like an African Wildcat but I guess would be far more likely to have more Feral Cat heritage. Is it possible to load photos to posts here as I’ve got some pics of a rodent that I’d appreciate if anyone can help to confirm the ID of? I may do a short report if I can find a we bit of time.



  • Mike Richardson

    Hi Nick. Just post your rodent pic here, I’m sure someone will be able to ID it. I’m hopefully returning to Israel in a couple of weeks for a much more relaxed trip with the girlfriend. I would be interested in where you saw the Wildcat and Desert Hedgehog. Thanks, Mike Richardson

  • Nick Littlewood

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for that – what I’m not sure of is simply how to attach photos to posts – can’t see an option for doing so. I’m maybe just being not very observant (not a good quality for mammal watching!) but if someone can point me to an option for adding pics, that would be really appreciated.

    I’ll do a short trip report in due course but probably not until well into April so here’s the details of those two animals:

    Desert Hedgehog – this was found by torchlight after dark in an area of scattered scrub just to the west of the “South Circular Field” at Yotvata, 25 km or so north of Eilat. Google maps gives the coordinates of the animal as 29.892485, 35.071522. I’ve also previously (2010) seen one in car headlights along the back road from KM20 pools to Eilat at aprox 29.600420, 34.982724 and, in 2014, I was on the same campsite as Dominique Brugiere (Hai-Bar) when one was shown to us that had been captured after walking into the shop/cafe at Yotvata service station (this is featured in his trip report on this site). Note that the night after seeing the Desert Hedgehog on this trip, I walked around the “North Circular Field” with a torch (a Fenix TK41) and was moved on (very politely) by the military. I’ve torchlighted around here before so maybe just unlucky this time? Should be fine, I imagine, in the scrubby areas at the west side of these field. The Yotvata area is very well known to birders but let me know if you are not familiar with it and I can annotate a map with access routes, etc.

    Cat – This was on my last day when I spent three hours late morning en route back to the airport, looking (without success) for the Bateleur that has been hanging around. I was wathcing from atop an old concrete watchtower that one can climb up inside. It is around 20 to 30 m high and gives a great view over the surrounding landscape (saw around 8 Dorcas Gazelles scattered around the fields from here). The tower has apparently been a frequent viewpoint for birders so it is presumably okay to do so. It is located at 31.638941, 34.826815. Turn off the road 353 at 31.628341, 34.828985 and drive up to the tower. This is close to the major Route 6, maybe 30 km or so S of Tel Aviv, close to Kiryat Gat. The immediate area is agricultural but there are lots of built up areas within a few km, so presumably a ready supply of Feral Cats. This cat was stalking a pair of Chuckars, whose calls drew my attention to it. With my elevated and partly concealed position, I think it wasn’t aware of my presence so I never got a chance to see if it would appreciate a belly-rub or taken my hand off. I fully imagine that it was another Feral but it bore a close resemblance to African Wildcat in Aulagnier et al. I have photos of this too, so can post them for interest if I can work out how to do so.

    Hope this helps and have a fantastic trip, Mike.


  • Nick Littlewood

    P.S. Mike – the email I received notifying me of your comment, and asking me to approve its addition to this thread, said also that “Currently 3 comments are waiting for approval” but the link provided for that just takes me to the home page. I wonder if you or anyone else can assist with where I find these. And my apologies to all for clogging this up with non-mammal content.



    Nick, Jungle Cat can look incredibly variable. The same individual can look like a standard Jungle Cat in some photos but more like an African Wildcat or even a feral cat in others according to pose. Jungle cats are common in parts of northern Israel so could this have been what you saw. It’s worth checking photos in a number of books to see what I mean.


  • Mike Richardson

    Hi Nick, thanks for such a detailed and quick reply! I’ve visited Israel before (with Mark Hows) and we spent some time spotlighting the circular fields so I’m familiar with the area. I guess the fields are very close to the border with Jordan hence the military moving you on. I’m surprised the local farmers don’t object more to people driving around the fields, especially around the bird race when many birders visit the site.

    Hopefully Jon will help you add the rodent photo and answer your other question. Thanks again for your help.


  • Jon Hall

    Nick, if you create a new post and choose “add media” you can upload a photo(s) and insert them into the post. It is pretty easy. Let me know if you get stuck

    cheers Jon

Leave a Reply