The sighting of the year so far has to be this incredible encounter between a dwarf mongoose and a black mamba, which just goes to show that the most exciting safari sightings are not necessary the ones that involve the Big 5! Watch this one-of-a-kind video here…
Brett and guests were on safari at Walker’s River Camp in the Timbavati Nature Reserve – one of the Greater Kruger’s prestigious wildlife areas – and came across a scuffle on the road in front of them. Astonishingly, the interaction was between two seemingly unevenly matched opponents: a dwarf mongoose (Lowveld’s smallest carnivore) and a black mamba (South Africa’s most deadly snake)!
Brett got his camera ready and started to film the action, and the resulting video shows just how brave (or foolish) the mongoose was, as it snuck up to the killer snake and nipped its tail before bolting back to safety as the snake reared around on it. The mongoose was quick enough to escape the snake, which is a renowned quick and ready striker, and get to a safe enough distance. The snake didn’t seem focused on attacking the mongoose and rather treated it as a pesky fly every time it nipped its tail. Eventually the snake made its exit up a tree when the scene came to an end.
The theory behind the mongoose’s behaviour is that the snake might have posed a threat to the mongoose burrow, which is where the babies might have been hiding out. Dwarf mongooses are community dwellers, and they have a strong family bond. This brave individual had likely taken it upon itself to try and chase the snake away from the burrow and keep the community safe. This, however, is only speculation, as we can never assume to know exactly why animals behave in a certain way. Either way, it was our lucky day to stumble upon such an unusual interaction in the wild!