A fearless mongoose takes on a large venomous Black Mamba snake and comes out unscathed and victorious over one of Africa’s deadliest.
35-year-old Field Guide Ankia Pusey was driving on the S130 Gomondwane Loop in the south of the Kruger National Park when she came across a fierce battle between a Black Mamba and a mongoose. This sighting was shared on the Latest Sightings page.
“It was a cool day with soft rain. The road was quiet, and there were no other vehicles in sight. We took it slow, did some birding, and looked for tracks and signs of animals in the area. I then heard starling alarm calls and informed my guests that the starlings had been disturbed by something, most likely a snake or an owlet.”
Always be weary and alert to the sounds around you when out on safari. Alarm calls from various species may lead you to great moments in the bush, and that was exactly the case with Anika.
“I stopped the open safari vehicle, and we then saw the starlings dropping down towards a sickle bush. That’s when we saw a movement inside the bush. At that point, I realized it was a snake, and we saw the large Black Mamba move a little higher up, towards the top of the bush, still in between the leaves and twigs. Suddenly, the Slender Mongoose went straight towards the mamba from the bottom of the bush, through the leaves and twigs.”
The Battle Continues…
“The mongoose bit the mamba on its body and ran down the bush to escape the snake. The Mamba then moved to the top of the sickle-bush and lay there. The Slender Mongoose then came back up, bit the mamba a second time, and moved back down again. This continued for about 30 minutes, with multiple attacks from beneath the mamba.
“The mongoose then came to the top of the bush and faced the mamba. The mamba reared up and opened its mouth, but the mongoose was fast and went back down into the bush. Again, this carried on for a while. The mongoose managed to bite the snake a few more times without causing serious damage to the snake or being bitten.”
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“The Mamba was exhausted and defeated at this point. The mongoose left and moved off eventually. The starlings came back and started mobbing and irritating the snake. This forced the snake to retreat to safety, and it left.”
Most of the time, when mongooses attack snakes, they’ll kill the snake. We will never know why this mongoose left the snake after about an hour. Perhaps it was a female mongoose with young in the area, and she just wanted to make sure it didn’t get to her young.
“It’s not a very common sighting to witness. I’ve only seen it happen twice – and I spend most of my time in the bush. This was the first time I’ve ever had the opportunity to see it properly and manage to get some photos. The cherry on top was that I was alone with my guests at this incredible sighting.”