21 March 2011 by Julienne du Toit

Mungus the Mongoose

I’ve mentioned Mungus before - the portly mongoose that made its home with the Kyle family in the bush near Kosi Bay. Last I saw, it was leading a very happy life cadging Scottish shortbread biscuits at teatime and lording it over the mystified dogs.

Mungus was a banded mongoose, and the other day I stumbled on an image of another one. Clearly this particular wild mongoose in the picture had never encountered a teatime biscuit. It was engaged in act of hurling a millipede between its hind legs onto a rock behind it. The millipede, presumably, then gave up all will to live and was consumed in a flash.

Mongooses are brighter than buttons when it comes to food. They break the shells of snails, eggs and beetles like this. They also like eating scorpions and other things with stings or chemical defence mechanisms. These they handle by pawing them and rolling them around and shaking them before munching them.

These little predators are usually pretty jealous about their food, defending their finds from others. But they can’t quite contain themselves when they find, say, a dung ball larded with beetles. Then they let out excited churrs and twitters which bring the others running to the feast.

I can’t help but wonder what they’d do if one of them ever came across Mungus’s favourite Eet-Sum-Mor shortbreads…

Category: Food & Wine, Wildlife

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