Slender Mongoose Interaction With Puff Adder

Apr 22 2015

Mongooses are renowned for attacking snakes, even the most dangerous of them all - the notorious black mamba. Steven Oosthuisen, Wilderness Trails Ranger (Olifants Trail) says, “The puff adder in this clip is young yet still incredibly dangerous and the type of venom is cytotoxic which causes necrosis of the flesh. A mongoose is not immune to the venom of snakes and that's why they have to be super-fast when attacking.” We tap in with Steven Oosthuisen to find out more about these allusive creatures…


TB: Are snakes a typical part of the mongoose diet? And what else forms part of their diet?
SO: It is not a common part of their diet but if they happen to come across a snake they will generally worry it and often eventually kill it. Obviously the size of the snake makes a difference. It would be unlikely that a slender mongoose would attempt to kill a large python unless threatened or defending their young. Slender Mongooses [Galerella sanguinea] are predominantly carnivores but can feed on certain seeds and plants. They can also feed on carrion when the opportunity arises, as well as birds eggs and fledglings in nests. But mostly they feed on insects, rodents and small reptiles.

TB: And who are their biggest enemies?
SO: They are preyed on mostly by birds of prey (eagles), cats, jackals and smaller predators.

TB: Can you tell us more about their hunting skills? They seem quite agile…
SO: They are very agile and able to move very fast in short bursts. Slender mongooses are brilliant at climbing trees after bird’s nests.

TB: Are they mostly solitary?
SO: Yes and diurnal. They do not have territories but home ranges and forage and move around mostly on their own. A male’s home range often overlaps with many females’ home ranges.

TB: What is the lifespan of a mongoose?
SO: They live to about the age 10 to 12 years.

TB: What is the most interesting thing you can tell us about a mongoose?
SO: It is interesting that there are approximately 40 subspecies of slender mongooses throughout Africa with many different colour variations.

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