August 2021

Size does not always matter

Share:

Size does not always matter

Recently a group of guests and I had a very interesting encounter between predator and prey, where the little guy! It was the first afternoon drive with my guests who had been on safari at two different lodges before they came to Singita, and told me that they had no expectations as they had already seen a lot of different animals. They were very keen to just take a very easy afternoon drive to soak up some of the African bushveld.

We did end up sitting with one of our resident lion prides who were fast asleep. As if by an alarm clock they all started stretching and grooming which is usually a sign that they will start moving.

One lioness got up and walked to where some impala were running away from where the lions were lying up. All of a sudden, the bush exploded with about 20 banded mongooses dashing in all direction with a lot of vocalisation. The lions were all up in a dash and one of the lionesses had managed to catch one of the mongooses. We drove around to where all the commotion was coming from only to find that the mongoose had managed to free itself from the lion’s mouth (most probably by delivering a painful bite to the lip of the lion).

At this stage the tiny and very outnumbered mongoose had found some shelter under a fallen log and had an adult lioness, a small four-month-old cub and a one-year-old cub all trying to get to it. Banded mongooses are known to be very fierce little creatures and will always put up a good fight. Every time the lions came in with a paw or an attempted bite, the mongoose would charge out ferociously and bite at the lip or paw of the lion! Eventually after about 20 minutes of this the lions actually decided to move on (with a few painful nips to their lips).

Banded mongooses are social animals and I have no doubt that the little hero managed to find its family group or ‘rush’ as it’s known, probably also with a few bruises but happy to have survived the lion onslaught! We had spent a wonderful relaxing afternoon out in the bush watching a wildlife documentary unfold right in front of us !


Quentin Swanevelder
By Quentin Swanevelder
Field Guide