We had to stay in Windhoek over Christmas and New Year, which, to nomads like ourselves who enjoy being outdoors in nature, is tantamount to hell! However, a chance sighting of a Yellow mongoose in our garden a few days before Christmas gave rise to an idea – we decided to put some food out to see if we could attract it and get some close up photographs. Little did we know what pleasure this would give us over an otherwise quiet time alone.
We placed some left-over burger meat on the ground, Rob set his camera up on a tripod and we waited for our dinner guest. It took about an hour for the mongoose to arrive. It was very nervous and detoured through the flower bed to grab a piece of meat before disappearing back under the garden wall. Having obviously enjoyed the tasty morsel, it followed this procedure until the food was gone. Rob, in the meantime, had been clicking away and getting some magnificent shots.
On day two cold chicken was on the menu and sure enough, right on cue, our little mongoose arrived. We could see by its size that it was a juvenile. Still nervous, the meal took more than an hour to eat as the mongoose kept running off with each piece of meat. There was great excitement when halfway through the meal a Slender mongoose arrived on the scene.
They are quite different in colouring – being darker and having a black tip on their tail as opposed to the white tip on the tail of the Yellow mongoose. The Slender mongoose also has a very different face with a pink nose.
By day three we’d almost run out of meat so used cat pellets to supplement the meal. We were delighted when our Yellow mongoose (note how possessive we had now become!) brought a friend along to eat. They weren’t too nervous and stayed eating at the dish, all the while ‘talking’ to each other with little cooing noises. When alarmed by something, they made a completely different warning sound as they ran off. At one stage our cat went outside and one of the little mongooses bushed out its tail and rushed at him in a threatening manner. I was somewhat alarmed by this as I wouldn’t want any harm to come to our beloved cat.
On the fourth day no less than six mongooses arrived. Our little garden was completely overrun by these animals and we decided that we’d taken enough photos and would stop the feeding/photography project. It’s amazing how quickly the word spreads when there is food to be had. One or two still come nosing around during the day looking for food and it’s very difficult not to feel sorry for them and throw a few cat pellets their way.
If you’d like to read more about the variety of mongooses that we’ve seen, click on The Heroic Mongoose and Namibia’s Largest Endemic Carnivore.