Friday, January 23, 2015

What, a new blog post??

Yep, that’s right.
I’ve been driven to it by the hardships of my life.

Normally I can handle my self-imposed solitude; month after month alone in the bush, my only human converse, ‘Fill it up with Super, thanks’.
But sometimes it all gets too difficult and I just can’t go on without the comfort of a sympathetic ear (or rather, eye).

What’s brought about this tragic state of affairs?
The unbearable cuteness of mongoose pups.

Each day, when I visit my study animals, I have to face them. Waddling out eagerly on their stumpy legs, they look like a swarm of mouse-sized bear cubs. Blunt noses raised, they peer up at me myopically with misty green eyes. As I crouch down, they gather around, clambering over my boots and eagerly placing their tiny paws on my leg, their claws scratchy against my skin. Although, at three weeks old, they’re still primarily milk-guzzlers, they’re hoping I'll give them a mealworm, which they snatch hungrily from my fingers and crunch up with a relish quite disproportionate to their size.

Tended constantly by a babysitter during their first 4 weeks, dwarf mongoose pups first toddle from their termite mound at 2.5 to 3 weeks. These little guys - Periwinkle, Speedwell and Nepenthes (coz she bites) - are from Halcyon’s first litter. Copyright L Sharpe.

A swarm of little Herpestids. In an act of unusual magnanimity, the reigning females in both Bugbears and Halcyon allowed their sisters’ litters to live this year (usually they just munch ‘em) so both groups are raising a bumper crop (7 and 8 pups respectively). Copyright L Sharpe.

If the morning is drear and chilly, one of the pups will clamber laboriously up onto my leg and snuggle down, hearth-rug style, with its belly pressed firmly against the bare skin of my thigh. Since mongoose pups like to huddle, others soon follow suit, until I have the whole litter heaped in a somnolent pile in my lap. They’re so relaxed it looks as if some awful massacre has taken place; at least until the top ones grow chilly and squirm their way underneath their comatose siblings. The babysitters aren’t quite sure that this is kosher of course, and they sit watching anxiously, like mothers on the first day of school.

Here Violet, uncertain about protocol, drags her little brother Mouse-whiskers back to the termite mound. Copyright L. Sharpe.

Hey, play nice! Copyright L Sharpe.

It’s never too early to learn to read. Campion and Rosy deciphering scent-messages at the group’s latrine. Copyright L Sharpe.

Bergamot, the proud dad at Halcyon. Copyright L.Sharpe.

Skipper and Piper (from Bugbears) playing on my heartstrings. Copyright L Sharpe.

So now you've seen the photos maybe you'll understand why it’s all too much for me. Why I just can’t continue without sharing the experience with another human being.


  1. I wish that you would share a lot more often. This stuff about Dwarf Mongooses and other African wildlife is so very fascinating to me. I had been wondering about what tragedy, (lion, crocadile, Puff Adder?) had caused you to stop posting. It is good to see a new post from you.

  2. Too. Much. Cute! I'm glad that all's going well.

  3. *sigh*

    SO great to hear from you.

    SO much adorable to shoulder. You ARE the most brave. =) I had NO idea the little tykes cuddled with you! Jeepers...

  4. I've missed your posts ..... and I'm totally green with envy at the thought of your being a sleeping platform for a pile of baby mongooses.

  5. Awesomeness Lynda, they are so unbelievable cute it hurts. They are the sweetest anyway, even the adults look like bear cubs. Be well and the little Darlings too, and still all the best for a beautiful and healthy 2015 for you guys. Was so nice to hear from you.

  6. At last Lynda! The blog drought has broken. More please! From Minibus, in Melbourne.

  7. i Lynda, Absolutely love your comical and interesting posts. I read an article you wrote about your experience with the Kalahari meerkats and your social bonding hypothesis, I love the idea that we cannot always have an answer to why animals play! I really want to chat further with you about your findings and thoughts but i have searched high and low for an email address for you but no luck. Could you possibly contact me at cheers, Steph

  8. ahhhhh..utterly and completely adorable. thanks for the share.

  9. Glad you were able to share are lucky to have a job that is so much fun...not like going to work at all.

  10. Hey, there: saw this & wondered if it overlaps your whirled:

  11. I do miss your posts. Came back to check that the interlocked kudu horns post was still up.

  12. Hi Lynda, I have small Indian mongooses in Hawaii . They are very similar to dwarf mongooses . Their social order is different , omnivorous , they live independently . my oldest neutered boy is almost 11. I'd love to network with you . I have Anna Rasa's book and have communicated with her a little . Happy trails !

    1. Nice to hear from you. Any friend of a mongoose is a friend of mine! (although I know that mongooses do a lot of damage in Hawaii). How many do you have? Do they get along with one another? I'm always intrigued by the differences and similarities between species.


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