Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mongoose at my door!

One morning I was amazed to see an animal standing on hind legs, leaning on my screen door--a strange animal totally new to me. I tiptoed to the camera. By then he had gone down the three steps and was on the ground. Opening the door would have scared him away, so I had to take the picture through the screen. The tail was almost as long as the slender body, and it almost looked like the animal had quills (but which later turned out to be long, coarse hair).
The old-timers who have lived on this moshav since its founding in 1949 told me this was a "nemia." Armed with the Hebrew name, I could then be helped by Google to learn that my visitor was none other than an EGYPTIAN MONGOOSE.
When the moshav was still a collective agricultural village and not almost privatized like today, every household had to raise laying hens in huge numbers. Now only about a dozen chicken runs still operate. But this explains the presence of the nemiot. They love to eat eggs and chickens. Indeed, one often sees little piles of white left-over feathers in the woods.
Thankfully, the mongoose also catches snakes, rats, and mice. True, I have never seen rodents around my house, and but one snake. However, often at night I hear a four-legged upstairs neighbor in the space between my ceiling and roof, galloping back and forth or scratching furiously. The scientific literature claims that the mongoose is an agile and playful creature. Aha! Perhaps my nocturnal sounds mystery is solved!

The Indian mongoose was renowned for its swiftness in killing cobras. Rudyard Kipling's "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" was such a mongoose. For interesting history and facts on this critter see here, the Canadian Museum of Nature. Thanks to them for this drawing too.

Other bloggers are posting their animals today on Camera Critter Sunday. Have a look!

16 comments:

Rambling Round said...

What an interesting post! Looks like you have your very own mouser.

Dina said...

Hi Rambling Round,
Mouser--I had forgotten that word in English. Thanks for reminding me. Yes, and in a way, it's nice to have a "housemate." LOL

i beati said...

not many people can say that !! great !! sandy

Musings said...

Do you know we've got mongoose in Hawaii? It's terrible!!! The sugar plantations used to have trouble with mice so they brought in the mongoose to get rid of the mice. Well, the mice are diurnal and the mongoose are nocturnal so they never met which meant the mongoose had to look for other food. They found it. They ate up the native Hawaiian bird eggs. Such a shame! Don't even get me on the biting mosquitoes!

reader Wil said...

This is very interesting. I don't know anything about this kind of animal. Is it mentioned in the Bible? Can you compare it to a weasel?

Dina said...

Oh Musings, bummer about introduced species and the havoc they make. Today things are different. I read that "Some species of mongoose are kept as pets for vermin protection but are not allowed into Canada or the United States because of their destructiveness. " Too late for Hawaii.
Nu, what's the story with the mosquito??

Reader Wil, no, they don't live up in your part of Europe. I guess it is like a weasel, but then, I don't know weasels well.
I never thought the mongoose was mentioned in the Bible, but your question got me to searching. And lo and behold, due to a King James Version mix-up, there IS a mongoose connection, maybe. They called it cockatrice. It's too complicated for my brain to explain, so see the scholarly explanation at
http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/C/COCKATRICE/ .
Thanks for the good question.

Dina said...

Hey Sandy/ i beati,
Well, if you lived alone long enough, you might say it too. hehe

Thru Pink Curtains said...

that would almost be the equivilent to having a large rat around!! I remember one of my boys was so proud that he shot one at first shot with a be be gun. This rat was looking at me by my bed one morning and needless to say there was a commotion!!!!
Yes i am seventh day adventist and keep sabbath friday sundown to saturday sundown.

Misty Dawn said...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again (so, excuse me for repeating myself) - I look forward to your Camera-Critters posts each week, because I get to see critters which I will probably never see in real life.

This critter is really unique and awesome! Thanks SO much for sharing your critters with us!

Dina said...

Misty Dawn, you can repeat that as often as you like. LOL. Thanks for all your shepherding of us all.

Thru Pink Curtains, shalom.
Somehow mongoose sounds and looks better than rat. But I would hate to have either one inside my house, next to my bed. Oi veh!

Chrisss said...

A totally different type of "goose" than I see around here. Great post!

Kris McCracken said...

They look bigger than I had imagined. What an amazing sight at your front door!

MEDITERRANEAN KIWI said...

thanks for passing by

imagine seeing a mongoose at the door - we once got a runaway pig!

reader Wil said...

Dear dina I got an award from Oldladylincoln with the request to mention 5 other names and of course I mentioned you. Can you come to my blog and see why I chose you?

babooshka said...

Very interesting post dedictaed to the mongoose. Not an animal I will see amongst our wildlife here.

RAQUEL SABINO PEREIRA said...

Hello Dina! I am «Sailor Girl» from Atl├óntico Azul (one of Lisbon's City Daily Photoblog)!!!

Thank you for your lovely comment on my other blog of Creoula!

Shalom, from sunny Lisbon!!!