My guests and I have been having a great time during our drives, watching general game as well as exciting animals such as lions and seeing them in their natural habitat. In one of our drives, just as the sun was starting to set, one of the guests on my vehicle spotted something small run across the road. He said it looked like a mouse. So we stopped and waited to see what it was.

While waiting, suddenly a small head pops out of a hole in the ground – it was a dwarf mongoose. After a few more seconds, more heads started coming out, curious about this big thing watching them. As time went by, they became brave and started coming out of the holes and started playing and sniffing around.

The dwarf and the banded mongoose are the only two species that live in groups. The others (white-tailed mongoose and slender mongoose) are solitary.

As we watched the dwarf mongoose, I told my guests a few interesting facts about them. They actually have a symbiotic relationship with the hornbill (otherwise known as Zazu from The Lion King). As the mongoose look for food on the ground, the hornbill will catch any insects that fly up to get away from the mongoose. On the other hand, the mongoose family relies on the hornbill for their alarm calls – if signalled they will run back into their holes for cover. The hornbill will also give certain calls in the morning to wake them up in order to search for food.

This interesting relationship is quite successful and works well for both species.

Harry – Kapama River Lodge

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