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Good morning mongoose

Good morning mongoose

Mongoose mother and baby
Mongoose mother and baby
Claire Sanderson

 

Email:              clairees@vt.edu

Claire Sanderson, PhD, is a postdoctoral research scholar at Virginia Tech, USA, under the supervision of Dr. Kathleen Alexander. Her field research is conducted through the CARACAL Biodiversity Centre in Kasane and focuses on the intersection of mongoose health and behaviour across changing landscapes.

These inquisitive, busy, stripy little mammals have wide appeal. Quite apart from the scientific study opportunities they provide, their lifestyle is a wholesome and peaceful example far removed from the violence in this troubled world. Mongoose troops are constant and caring; their existence follows a gentle and predictable rhythm that many hard-pressed humans might wistfully envy.

As seen elsewhere in this issue, they contribute significantly to understanding ecosystem health. Dr Claire Sanderson, who spends many hours monitoring mongoose during their daily routines, also uses poetry to convey simple conservation messages to children. While meant for the younger generation, many adults will respond warmly to herpoem too – and please do read it to your offspring.

"Good morning, Mongoose! How are you today?"

They are out of their den and they're on their way,

In search of food to fill their bellies

But they don't have supermarkets, bread shops or delis.

They must dig all day in the dirt and the mud,

In search of worms and beetles and bugs.

When their bellies are full and its warm outside,

They will nap in a pile, 15 mongoose wide!

 

When it's time to move, one will give the call,

"Let's go! Right now, come one, come all!"

Sometimes they'll meet some friends on the way,

Like warthogs or baboons, "Let's stop and play!"

If you listen closely you might hear them conversing

And if you watch closely, you might see a pup nursing.

But it’s not all fun and games as far as we can tell,

There are big scary things out there as well.

It could be something feathered, or something that's furred,  

It could be a dog, a snake or a bird.

But when something frightening approaches the troop,

They will band together in one large group.

The bigger they are, the scarier they seem

And hopefully the enemy will run off with a scream.

When the coast is clear and they can relax, 

They'll scamper off leaving little mongoose tracks.

They'll forage in the dirt and discover more food,

Until they are full and it's time to groom.

Making sure everyone is washed and clean

Is important, like bath time for you and me!

When the day's nearly done and the sun is setting

The mongoose will find a nice safe spot to den in.

"Good bye, Mongoose! Sweet dreams, good night!

Stay safe until the morning light."

Yes, mongoose are clever, mongoose are fun,

They also get all the dirty jobs done.

Like keeping the scorpions and snakes away,

So our friends and families can safely play.

To say thanks in return we must drive slowly in town,

Even if you can't see them, they are still around.

And if you see them, don't throw rocks or yell,

We must look after our animals, they have feelings as well.