Jackie Wilson Asheeke

I have colonies of ‘little animals’ all over my garden in Eros. They started popping up about 5-6 years ago. Now, they have burrows under my wall and bolt holes everywhere. These guys were cute a natural at first, but now, they own my entire garden. Honestly, I am not lying. I heard them having a braai and swimming in the water tub I put out for them.

Where I live in the USA, we have squirrels, pigeons (rats with wings) and sometimes a chipmunk or two if you live near the woods. But, here in Windhoek, instead of squirrels, there are yellow mongoose. Over the years, there must now be dozens of them, if not more.

When I go into the side garden which is terraced rocks mostly they poke their heads out or they stand up far enough where I cannot reach them and they stare at me. I swear they are saying, “whassup?” Always two or three are standing up looking around and the rest of foraging in the grasses or running about playing. When they do this, they creep me out.

My poor dogs try to chase them, but it is a wasted exercise. The older mongoose moonwalk in the line of sight of my Labradors until the dogs take off at top speed running towards them. At the last possible moment, the little buggers dive into a hole.

It makes the dogs crazy. Sometimes I think dogs are very smart and insightful. But, when I see them constantly lured by the mongoose to do stupid things, I have to re-assess my perspectives.

I know for a fact that the mongooses laugh themselves silly each time the dogs arrive on the spot and find only air.

When I sit outside my house in these COVID days and try to get some sun or walk around to stretch my legs, the little animals also come out, line-up and watch me walk. They act like I should be asking them for permission to be in my own garden!

I learned a bit about the mongoose:

“The yellow mongoose is a different animal altogether and can take down a mamba. These interesting creatures are relatively common around Namibia. Although the red meerkat or yellow mongoose are a different species (Cynictis penicillata) to their more famous cousins the meerkat (Suricata suricatta), they are often seen together. They are known to share accommodation on occasion.

In the wild, yellow mongoose live in colonies of up to 20 individuals. They communicate with each other mainly via soundless tail movements. When threatened, they growl menacingly and have also been heard to bark, scream and purr.

Their burrows are built on dry open grasslands or arid scrubland and it is here where they bear their young and hide them from predators. Yellow mongooses are fearless and will protect themselves and their offspring with surprising confidence for such small creatures.

Many a jackal or snake has met with a nasty surprise by sticking their nose where it just shouldn’t be. Birds of prey have an advantage and achieve more success when preying on these fast, fierce animals.

In turn, yellow mongooses are partial to eating snakes as well as insects, rodents and other reptiles. (www.arebbusch.com/wildlife-namibia-yellow-mongoose-aka-red-meerkat)