Greg Hartman photographs meerkats in the Kalahari desert
Waltzing meerkats: puppies playing in combat seem to be locked in a tight embrace
- Greg Hartman, 35, was in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana when he saw the couple
- Safari guide spotted the puppies fighting alongside 12 family members
- In one image, young people seem to be kissing, smiling
- Hartman said the “hug” was actually more of a wrestling move
Standing on their hind legs with their arms locked around each other’s waist – this image appears to show two meerkats dancing.
In fact, the two puppies were fighting according to photographer and safari guide Greg Hartman, 35, who spotted them in the Kalahari Desert, Botswana.
Greg, from Zimbabwe, said he found the meerkats along with 12 family members on the outskirts of a search and rehabilitation camp.
A pair of meerkat puppies appear to be dancing but are actually playing fighting in this image captured by Greg Hartman in Botswana
Mr Hartman said he spotted the puppies alongside 12 family members near a rescue and rehabilitation center in the Kalahari Desert.
Playing in combat is important for bonding in groups of meerkats as they are very social animals and require activities to bond.
Greg said: âThe play and social behavior on that day were especially exciting to photograph.
âMeerkats are among the most social mammals on the planet.
âThey live in family groups made up of a number of related and unrelated adults and their offspring.
âIndividuals in family groups form close bonds, and grooming and play are important aspects of social behavior within groups.
âInteraction is common, especially between younger members of groups.
âEven though a lot of people think there are cuddles, the image actually shows two animals playing at fighting.
“The ‘hugging’ posture is actually a bit of a wrestling move.”
Mr. Hartman is both a safari guide and a photographer, using his work to capture some of the animals he finds along the way.
Meerkats are very active animals, which is why Hartman said using a high shutter speed on his camera is essential to capture them properly.
Mr Hartman, who dabbled in wildlife and nature photography about three years ago, takes visitors for walks in the Kalahari plains and often encounters meerkats.
Greg, who dabbled in wildlife and nature photography about three years ago, takes visitors for walks in the Kalahari plains and often encounters meerkats.
Greg said: âI really love finding and photographing rare creatures.
âSome of the desert specialists that I love to try to photograph include Aardvark, Aardwolf, Cape Fox and Brown Hyena.
âA few key things I was thinking about while photographing such interactions included effective camera settings and positioning.
âMeerkats move fast, so a high shutter speed was very important.
âMy camera isn’t great at high ISO, so keeping an eye on that was on my mind.
“Also, it was very important to get as low as possible to shoot at animal level.”