Babysitting a Banded Mongoose Pup in Marloth Park

Baby Banded Mongoose

Baby Banded Mongoose

Baby Banded Mongoose

Baby Banded Mongoose

Baby Banded Mongoose

Baby Banded Mongoose

Our temporary home is in Marloth Park, South Africa.  And while I’ll be writing more on that shortly, I first wanted to share our most recent experience – babysitting a Banded Mongoose pup.   Our neighbor, Louise, rescued the abandoned pup, and because she had to go out of town for a couple of days, we offered to watch him.  I say him, but we’re not certain of his gender.

Baby Banded Mongoose

Baby Banded Mongoose

Banded Mongoose

The Banded Mongoose, also called the Mungos Mungo, is a fascinating little mammal.  Cousin to the Meerkat, they’re very social and will live with a pack of up to 50 – family and non-family.  As pups, they must get a mentor, also called an escort, in order to survive.  These escorts are, in most cases, males.  Another interesting fact, the females in the pack get pregnant all about the same time, and they synchronize their deliveries to be on the exact same day.  How, I have no idea.  The pups live in a den (often in old termite mounds) for up to a full month before emerging.  They’re mostly carnivores, eating insects, small birds and small reptiles.  They will eat fruit as well, assuming it has fallen on the ground.  It doesn’t appear they will go out of their way for an apple, but the group will join together to take down a large snake.

If you want to learn more and see some engaging video footage, check out BBC Nature.  I’ve been reading up on these cool beings and will be happy to find answers to questions you may have.

Baby Banded Mongoose

He loves crawling around in hair! His sharp little claws, however, are rough on the skin.

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**Interesting Factoid**

According to University of Exeter’s Banded Mongoose Research Project, the Banded Mongoose is very fond of dung beetles and can be found foraging in elephant or hippo poop looking for a tasty treat.

**Interesting Factoid**

According to Wikipedia, in certain parts of Africa, the Banded Mongoose hangs out with Baboons.  They’ll also hang out with warthogs -pulling ticks and parasites off of them and chowing down.

Our little buddy doesn’t have a name, but we’ve been calling him Mongo, Mongie, Punky Goosie and Pongo.  Mostly, I hope he is able to get his own banded family one day soon.  In the meantime, we had an outrageously amusing time watching him.

Baby Banded Mongoose

Baby Banded Mongoose

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Baby Banded Mongoose

Mr. Mongoo

Naturally, I took about 35 videos of this darling Mungos Mungo pup.  What surprised me most is the similarity in his behavior to a dog puppy.  He wanted to play from dawn to dusk with a few naps in between.  He snuggles and chomps and is silly.  He chatters and chirps and attacks his toys with the gusto of a puppy predator.  Something curious:  He was so afraid to be alone that if we walked into another room he would cry until our return.  He wouldn’t venture out to find us, he would stand at the doorway and cry.  That is heartbreaking, and we were trying to build up his courage by rewarding him to explore (just a little) beyond his boundaries.  I suspect there’s something in his DNA to keep him in a small territory for safety.

The first video is a 6-minute montage of the busy pup’s day, and the second video shows two naps that he took in our arms.  Precious. Period.

The busy playful Banded Mongoose pup – be prepared to catch yourself smiling and maybe even giggling a little

Nap Time for a sleepy Banded Mongoose pup – this may put you in a love coma

We told Louise that we’d watch him anytime.  He kept us busy with laughter and snuggles.  Another joyful reminder of the lively world that exists beyond the front door.

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I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights.
That is the way of a whole human being.
~Abraham Lincoln

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.
~Anatole France

Who can believe there is no soul behind those luminous eyes!
~Theophile Gautier

No one in the world needs a mink coat but a mink.
~Murray Banks

When it comes to having a central nervous system, and the ability to feel pain, hunger, and thirst, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.
~Ingrid Newkirk

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Check out the other South Africa posts below:

South Africa Post #1: Our first Kruger National Park Safari
This is South Africa Post #2: Babysitting a Banded Mongoose Pup in Marloth Park
South Africa Post #3: When Zebras Visit
South Africa Post #4: Daily Living in Marloth Park, South Africa
South Africa Post #5: Kruger Restcamps: Skukuza, Satara and Olifants
South Africa Post #6: Kruger Safari: Full Moon over Letaba
South Africa Post #7: Kruger Safari: Treasure Hunting in Tamboti and Lower Sabie
South Africa Post #8: There’s a Mongoose in my Ear!
South Africa Post #9: Peering through God’s Window at Blyde River Canyon
South Africa Post #10: The Dam Boat Tour at Blyde River Canyon
South Africa Post #11: Rare Sexual Encounters of South Africa
South Africa Post #12: To the Wildlife of Marloth Park
South Africa Post #13: Nelspruit to Cape Town
South Africa Post #14: Moved to Tears on Freedom Day
South Africa Post #15: Penguins in South Africa?
South Africa Post #16: The Southernmost Tip of Africa
South Africa Post #17Birds of Eden at Plettenberg Bay
South Africa Post #18: Dear South Africa: I love you, but…
South Africa Post #19: Elephants at Addo National Park 
South Africa Post #20The Garden Route: Nature’s Valley and Wilderness
South Africa Post #21: Endangered Bontebok
South Africa Post #22: Top Five Cape Town Experiences
South Africa Post #23: Chasing Rainbows in South Africa
South Africa Post #24: Vegan Wanderlust in South Africa
South Africa Post #25: Ubuntu

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One million four hundred and thirty thanks.

Thanks for reading and may your day be filled with the laughter brought on by 1000 Banded Mongoose pups.