Can I choose a mongoose?
Ronnie my twin and me, Roli had written down our summer wish lists and put them on the table for Dad to see.
We had both agreed it would not be toys, books or clothes.
Ronnie’s list began..
Kitten, pup, cockatoo,hamster, fish, snail, tickle me plant ….I started to giggle. Dad smiled and next picked up mine and read.
Nothing’s more comforting than a warm fluffy pet. So I choose a mongoose.
MONGOOSE…they all exclaimed .”The snake eater” shrieked Ronnie.
How can you??
Yes I said without blinking.
Why not? Said Daddy But I need you to do some reading first he said, so that you can take good care of your pet.
So the next day he helped me pick up a colourful animal encyclopaedia from the library and I went straight to page M for mongoose.
Small, no larger than a cat, mongoose are mammals that live in packs or mobs of 6 to 40 Individuals, very social and cooperative.
The mongoose babies are born blind but they have very good loving mommas who take great care of the babies in the dens for weeks after they are born.
Once a year, a mongoose gives birth to a litter of 4 pups who are weaned from moms at 6 weeks. The boys leave when they are 6 months old while the girls stay longer.
All mongooses help care for the babies when they come out of the den.
It looks like a mongoose daycare!!
Mongoose is an omnivore and an excellent hunter, so some of them go hunting, while some stay back to babysit. The older members and the babies are nurtured by the entire pack.
The kills are brought back home and freely shared among all.
They share food and help each other.
Oh how nice!!I thought.
But there are times when they love being alone.
They live on land, on treetops, partially in water, holes, rock crevices and also in burrows rarely dug by themselves. That makes it even more easy to find their food which includes animals and plants, earthworms, insects, lizards,rodents and even chicken.
But how can a mongoose eat eggs, molluscs, crabs or nuts?
It will hunch over, launch objects between their legs against a stone or tree to crack it open..haha..remarkably bright.
And the youngsters get to imitate a lot to perfect this.
Fast and agile, a mongoose is immune to snake toxins and knows well enough to dodge a snake bite.
Quite alert, they can sound alarm calls when they spot danger.
These 1–4 feet long animals covered with a thick coat of greyish or brown fur can make great pets too. They are lovable, very loyal and smart enough to do tricks with balls or hoops.
But not all species are easy to domesticate and there are countries that ban keeping them as pets.
They need annual rabies shots and it’s rare to find vets qualified to treat a sick mongoose.
It takes a lot of effort to take good care of them and interact with them.
That was something to think about.
Here are also some interesting facts I read:
1. The smallest mongoose is 10 inches long and weighs 0.5 pounds.
2. The longest is the white tailed mongoose 28 -30 inches long and weighs 8 pounds.
3. A mongoose can giggle which are high pitched sounds to inform mating.
4. Ancient Egyptians domesticated mongoose and considered them sacred. Mummified bodies been discovered in tombs.
The next week I found my dad waiting outside the library.
So, what about the mongoose? he asked.
I smiled and showed him a book I held — Rudyard Kipling’s Rikki Tikki Tavi, a story of a smart loyal mongoose.
“For now this will do Dad” I replied.
Originally published at http://charukriti.org.