For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Videos: YouTube

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Vacation time - Day 2

I was privileged to be introduced to Lynda’s study groups of mongoose. Please click here to go to her blog and find out not only about these wonderful animals but also her encounters with other wildlife in the area.
As the name implies, Dwarf Mongoose are the smallest of the species we have here. I estimate them to be a total of about 8 inches in body length including the tail and they are just the cutest little things.
Because of the drought, they have no water and very little food as there are no insects about so she goes every morning to feed them. Not enough so they become dependent on it but enough to keep them alive until the rainy season. They sit and wait in anticipation for the crushed hard-boiled eggs she brings.
As she scatters it on the rock, there is a mad scramble to get at the food. In a way it is sad to think that besides her study groups, how many there are out there starving right now?
Water is probably the most appreciated and they slurp it up gratefully.
This one has a wonderful adaptation to drinking, he sticks his paw and it then licks it off from there. Lynda says it is because the water is sometimes found in crevasse and this is how they would get it out as their heads are too big to fit in the crevasse.
I loved the way this one was stretched out against the sand. He looked like he was soaking up the suns rays. :)
A lot of time is spend grooming themselves and each other. I guess it is hard to lick behind your own ears. LOL!!
These are wonderful little creatures to sit and watch as they play, fight and groom themselves. Then off they go and start digging under leaves and in the sand to find what else they can find to eat.

28 comments:

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I did not realise that they were quite so small, 8" including tail is very tiny. Sad that there so many out there not getting Lynda's care over winter. Hopefully you will soon get rains and food will be plentiful. Diane

Snapper II said...

I enjoy your blog. Those Mongoose are verry interesting and at 8" long I bet they are a comedy to watch.

Gaelyn said...

They are adorable. Too bad no rain to bring out the food and water they need. Glad someone is taking care of at least a few.

Tammie Lee said...

that is just amazing to see these wonderful creatures. So sad about the food and water. Life/weather can change so fast.....

Tammie Lee said...

and
thank you for your wonderful comment on my latest post.

Sandra said...

oh how i would love to sit and watch them play. they are adorable. when you get home, you can add the new blogs to your side bar by going to the gadget. i thought it added them like it does in reader, but found when i add new ones I follow i have to go to gadget and add the new ones, it is not automatic.

young-eclectic-encounters said...

You are right they are fun to look at and the photos are delightful. We had drought conditions here in the Atlanta area and much of the wildlife thinned out. This summer has seen a resurgence of birds and small mammals. It has been real nice to see them again. So glad someone is taking care of the little critters there.
Johnina :^A

Mary said...

Oh Joan, your blog is so fascinating and your photos just remarkable! Thank you for sharing all your adventures and learnings with us. These are delightful creatures! I also loved seeing the cicada's head up close in your previous post.

Craig Glenn said...

Talk about bug eyed critters?!?

Great photo's J!

Craig

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

This is what it is like in winter Diane. Only the fittest survive. I hope the rains come soon too as I hate to see these areas so dry. My heart cries in times of drought.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Welcome Snapper 11 (is it Jake?)pleased you find things here of interest.

These, like so many of our animals are funny to watch. Yesterday I was looking at some squirrels and people must think me mad when I sit laughing at their antics. :) Thats okay, I AM a bit mad!! Just done tell anyone please. LOL!!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Me too Gaelyn. I was chatting to some people yesterday and they predict it will still be a few weeks before the rains come. The nice thing is that within a few days, everything has changed - the trees are green, bugs are about and there is food for all.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

You are right Tammie. This end of winter period is always the toughest by us as everything there was to eat is finished.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

You are welcome Tammie, that was a stunning photograph.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I love wildlife and nature as you know by now Sandra and learn so much from these animals. It is amazing to just sit and watch them.

Thanks for the info. I am surprised though as the others fed through on their own but I will sort it out.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Hello Johnina, it is wonderful to hear from you again.

Drought is such a bad thing and especially in the wildlife areas where nothing can be done about it. I suppose nature has to take its course though and it is one way of taking out the weak and the old.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Mary. I live in such a wonderful place and I guess I will always be a tour guide at heart wanting to share my knowledge with everyone.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

LOL!! Phew, at least this time it was not me who was bug-eyed. LOL!!

They are cute aren't they Craig. You and M have to come over so I can show them to you.

JM said...

I have seen so many mongoose in Africa but didn't managed to get one single shot... These are super, Joan!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

They are much to fast most of the time. I find where they live and then sit there for ages until they come out again and tat is the only way to get pictures of them Jose. :) Lots and lots of time and patience is needed.

Max-e said...

Hi Joan, I have been enjoying your vacation and reliving many old memories. When I was still a little ankle biter we lived on a farm on the lowveld side of the Strydom Tunnel (if that is what it is still called). We used to swim in the Oliphants River, but had to choose our spots, because it was crocodile invested in those days. The countryside was also teaming with game. When I took my wife to see this paradise after we got married it had all disappeared in the space of 10 years. It is nice to see that conservation is the name of the game in that area again.
Seeing the mongooses must have been very special. Two weeks in the bush sounds like my kind of holiday.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I am pleased you are enjoying it Max.

The tunnel's name has not changed and it surprises me, but just about all the town names around here have. Most of them are unpronounceable, so most people still call them by their old names. I think it will take another generation before the names start working as such.

The area still has most game farms but because of the fencing, there is not much movement of things here. Each owner put on it what he wants. The place I am at is also on the Olifants and because of the river being so dry, there is not a lot of activity on it at the moment but of course as soon as it rains and fills up, then the game will come back. There are still some hippo pools and I can hear them and sometimes take a walk to them, about 1/2 a km. I see the tracks of elephant, leopard and hyeana (which I sometimes hear at night). Of course the buck are still here and have seen a lot. The bushbuck and Waterbuck like to feed on the grass in front of the house.

Yes, the time with the mongoose was very special and wonderful. I would love to be able to do research like this. Better still, be able to find a sponsor so I can do the photography for my website on identification as a full time job. There is so much still to photograph. I can dream can't I? What is surprising to me is that so many companies are always sprouting out about nature, yet when it comes to actually DOING something about it, there is no one willing to participate even though they agree it is a worthwhile project. Well anyway, one of these days I will actually find someone willing to put their money where their mouths are!!

Have a good weekend Max. I will be heading back home tomorrow.

Mary said...

Beautiful little animals. They look playful....not sure I'd want to lick behind my own ears, or anyone elses! LOL

Firefly said...

The only place most people get to see a mongoose is when they dash across the road while you are driving somewhere.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

They are just as entertaining as the squirrels Mary. It was so wonderful to watch them.

LOL!! I must admit I do not lick my own ears either. LOL!!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

You are right Jonker but if you find one of their mounds they are nesting in and have a lot of patience to sit there quietly, they will come back out again. :)

Rambling Woods said...

My one cat uses his paw mostly instead of the bowl directly...maybe he has some mongoose in him....

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I have not seen it done like that but it is interesting to see these adaptions. Has you cat been visiting Africa? LOL!! Maybe watching too much Discovery channel. :)