Short trip to Swakopmund, Namibia 16-24 Sept 2023
I just returned from the African Small Mammal conference in Swakopmund, Namibia and wanted to share a few locations. My mammal targets for the area were round eared sengi and Namib golden mole, neither of which were seen sadly despite a lot of effort. I didn’t see much in the way of mammals (or herps for that matter 🙁 ). It was rather cold, windy and overcast throughout my stay, only rarely was it sunny in the afternoons.
I did get to see Littledale’s whistling rat (Parotomys littledalei) along the beach in Swakopmund at -22.678658, 14.521842. I first thought it was a karoo bush rat (Otomys unisculatus) but none of the Otomys occur in the area. I hung around for a while hoping to get some pics but it never showed itself again. There were lots of track runways between the bushes. I got a fairly good look at it and it did not have stripes on the back. Skinner and Smither’s Mammals of the Southern African Subregion even says “In the riverine association of the Swakop River they occur close to the mouth in the higher sandy parts of the river bed away from the damp brackish bed”. Here -22.690633, 14.527275 or -22.689043, 14.528979 would be good places to check out. I was there birding and the habitat looked good for rodents, but I sadly found this passage in the book after I got back! I also saw a burrow complex at -22.429327, 14.472913 (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/184578818) which looked like whistling rats.
I saw a four striped grass mouse (Rhabdomys bechuanae) in the dollar bushes south of town. I thought I had saved the point, but can’t find it, it was seen roughly here -22.687565, 14.539477.
Walking the dry river bed at night in Rossmund turned up hairy footed gerbil (Gerbilliscus paeba?) at -22.64541, 14.693912. Also my accommodation at this area had some bats roosting there. I only found out about them on the last day so I was not able to see them. The place was Bungalo in the Desert (https://www.airbnb.co.za/rooms/15481118?source_impression_id=p3_1695642507_F3iFyMTTJXNg9lyH)
A small group of Cape fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus) were seen on the beach in Walvis Bay at the end of the road from the salt pans -23.014511, 14.402906.
I also managed Dune and Grey’s Lark, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Ruppel’s Korhaan (Bustard), Chestnut-banded Plover, Namaqua chameleon, Peringuey’s adder, Marais gecko, and the local burrowing skink.