Thursday, December 16, 2010

Banded Mongoose - Mungos mungo

Banded Mongoose (Mungos mungo) occur mainly in the dry savannah and woodlands of northern Namibia and are commonly seen in the Etosha National Park.

They are diurnal, sociable animals, living in packs, or 'mobs', of 30 to 50 individuals.

They feed mainly on insects but will take other invertebrates, mice and wild fruits.

The characteristic feature of this species is the series of up to 15 transverse black bands from the mid-back to the base of the tail, which gives rise to their name.

Individuals in the pack maintain contact by twittering and strident chittering of members warning the pack to slip off quietly when there is danger.

I photographed some at Namutoni Rest Camp in Etosha where they have become 'tame' and unafraid of humans.

This one appeared to be trying to look 'cute', hoping that tourists would throw food at it.

This year, for the first time, I've had a mob of about 30 visiting my house.

At first I thought it was nice to have them around but soon changed my mind after they started chasing chickens off their nests and eating their eggs.

I photographed the one above through my window, eating an egg - they finished off a clutch of 12 eggs in a matter of minutes.

They disappeared for a few days after I took a couple of shots at them with a catapult but I'm sure they'll be back now that they know there are eggs to be found here.

I've also noticed that they've dug holes under the rocks in my rock stockpile and that most of the scorpions that were living there have disappeared.

Amy Schoeman - Notes on Nature
Reay Smithers - Land Mammals Of Southern Africa



  1. I love these little creatures but yes they can be a problem. We used to have them on the property in Zimbabwe and I often laughed as my one cat seemed to thing she was one of them. We often caught her playing with the youngsters with no ill effect.

    I have just looked up the plural and it seems that mongooses is correct, that somehow sounds odd but.....

    You may have no eggs left, but at least you will not get zapped by a scorpion:) Great post.

    I just looked back at past pictures of your house, you have done so much but I am sure it feels like it to you! Diane

  2. Hehe yeah Diane ... mongooses does sound strange - for the life of me I can't understand why they're not called 'mongeese'? ... :)

    ... as for the scorpions, I have a pact with them: they don't sting me and I don't kill them ... it works pretty well and I haven't been stung once since our peace treaty - also, when I find one under a rock I want to use, I immediately cover the hole with another rock ...

  3. the stripes resemble the pattern on racoons..our yard scavengers..

    Hey I didn't know you were a scorpion :)

    When I first lived in the desert I wasn't yet aware of the scorpions and generally walked around barefoot even at night. Luckily I was never stung

  4. Do they eat the scorpions, or do the scorpions see them coming and move out?

  5. Hey Monica - aside from having seen pics of Raccoons, I don't know anything about them ... are they pests? ... can they be domesticated as pets?

    ... I'm sure those desert scorpions knew that you're a good person and quietly slipped away when they felt you coming ... :)

    ... I was stung once a few years ago - one was in the leg of my jeans ... it was painful but luckily, the venom was not potent ...

  6. Howzit Steve - I've seen no specific reference to them eating scorpions but, given their diet, I assume that they do eat them ...

  7. Mixed blessing then, reduce the scorpions but also the eggs?

    I had to read the twittering a few times as I could only see tweeting!

  8. Hehe Dave ... yes, I was tempted to write something about them tweeting but thought better of it ... I might have gotten a slap in my facebook ...

  9. I see you already commented on them being so advanced to be on twitter.
    I think the exchange of eggs for scorpions is a good trade off. Are they very loud? They look very similar to prairie dogs.

  10. They are beautiful creatures but I never knew they were so up to date on social media- "Individuals in the pack maintain contact by twittering". Perhaps we could introduce them to blogging and facebook too.

    Sorry about the chicken eggs but hey, its payment for scorpion removal!

  11. I blog jogged to your homebuilding in Africa from Peggy's garden in Ireland...lovely journey! My husband and I spent several years in Arizona, we both loved the desert and the desert critters...found my cat playing with 2 baby scorpions in the dining roon once! Enjoy your photos...and learning about Africa!

  12. Hi lisleman ... yes, they can be pretty noisy, especially when fighting over a scrap of food - generally though, they seem to move around pretty quietly ...

  13. Hehe Lgsquirrel - mmm perhaps they're adept at mind control too, after all, they've got me to blog for them ... proxy blogging?

  14. Thanks for your visit and comment Theanne - I hope that you'll return often ...

  15. Very nice! Thanks for the pics.

  16. Great pics as usual,I have heard of them but not seen pics or known anything about them.Your blog is very educational!Robbing the eggs is a bad habit and if they know they can get easy food will they return?
    We dont' have snakes or scorpions over here TG!

  17. Thanks Peggy - yes, they'll be back knowing that there's an easy source of food here ... I need a dog to sort them out ...

  18. A very good serie.
    I saw them many times but I never took one good picture:they move too fast...
    Yes,I agree with Diane:I also would prefer to loose some egg as a "payement" to clean my house from scorpions...

  19. Thanks Andrea - yes, except for the ones at Namutoni they generally slip away quite quickly when they see humans - to tell the truth, I don't really mind the scorpions ...

  20. As someone else noted, the mongooses look like racoons to me. I am sure you would rather not lose your eggs tho scorpion bites are no fun either. I hope you can control the wild pests...somehow. Merry Christmas to you. It is now just around the corner, yikes! lol

  21. Thanks Penny - and compliments of the Season to you too - indeed, the years seem to flash by hey ...

  22. You really gve us a wonderful look at what life is like up there Graham. Thanks.

  23. Thanks for your visit and comment Joan ... I appreciate it.