The debate rages on…What is the plural of Mongoose? As the word contains the syllable “-goose”, some people insist that the plural should be ‘mongeese’.
For the purists, the Oxford English Dictionary gives ‘mongooses’ as the ‘usual modern plural form’ but lists mongeese as an ‘irregular plural’ which is ‘occasionally used’ Issue resolved?
Did you know? There is a story told of a zoo which had lost a mongoose. The zookeeper wrote to another zoo to ask for a replacement but figured that a pair might be a better option. So he wrote to his colleague at a nearby zoo: “Dear Bob, please would you send me a pair of mongeese”…but that did not look correct, so he tried again.” Dear Bob, please would you send me a pair of mongooses” but that STILL did not look right, so he tried one last time. “Dear Bob, please will you send me one mongoose and please would you send another one with it”
And depending on your choice of plural, this could either be a group of Mongooses or Mongeese…you can choose, I am certain that these three will not mind what you call them. Their ideal homes are disused termite mounds that offer many entrances and exits and have plenty of air holes.
There was a study done on the different alarm calls of the dwarf mongoose. A researcher noticed a variance between the calls in different geographic areas and wanted to investigate if there was any reason for this. Recordings of the various mongoose alarm calls related to particular predators in one region were played back to a group in a different geographic location. The new group recognised that there may be a threat but had no idea where the threat was coming from. The conclusion of the study was that the dwarf mongoose has different dialects according to geographic location. (Information from https://www.sabisabi.com/wildfacts/dwarf-mongoose/)
White-tailed mongoose. This is the largest of the mongoose species and at a quick glance is often mistaken for a civet.
I had never seen Banded Mongooses drinking, so this was a rather unusual sighting for me.
The southern yellow-billed hornbill and the dwarf mongoose share a relationship that scientists have no explanation for. Hornbills can often be found perched on top of termite mounds that are inhabited by Dwarf Mongoose. They have even been recorded tapping for the animals to exit and start foraging. While the mongoose searching in the grass, the Hornbill will perch above waiting to snap up insects that are trying to escape. This is a symbiotic relationship as the hornbill gets food and the mongooses get the added security of an extra pair of eyes that acts as an early warning system.
These animals have an almost insatiable curiosity that makes their antics endearing.
Another bird that has an interesting relationship with Dwarf mongoose clans is the Fork-tailed Drongo. Once a mongoose has found food, the Drongo will mimic the mongoose alarm call, which usually sends the clan back into their burrows, leaving the food behind for the cheeky Drongo. This species is able to mimic the alarm calls of several animals, thus ensuring itself of many meals without effort.
Even though it is not one of the Big 5, nor is it often on a bucket list of ‘must-see’ animals when on a game drive, these incredibly curious and interesting animals provide many moments of memorable interactions.