My wife placed a large chicken’s egg on the grass beside the house in the late afternoon when the mongeese prowl. One zoomed past at the bottom of the garden, stopped and raised itself erect on its hind feet to better see the white object.
The result was an education in mongoose ingenuity. It streaked up to the egg while we peered through a window. The egg was too big for its jaws. It pawed it about a bit and then did something so unexpected we were taken completely by surprise.
It looked back over its shoulder at a low stone wall. Then it darted back to the egg, stood belly over it as if trying to hatch it and with a hard shove of its forepaws shot the egg hard backwards between its hind feet at the wall. The egg broke, spilling its contents. The mongoose turned and ate only the yolk, tongue lapping it up.
We couldn’t afford endless eggs. But we found a solution which keeps not only the mongeese happy but also many kinds of birds like chats, wagtails, sparrows and robins: bonemeal, the “sawdust” grindings of bone and meal which accumulate beneath a butcher’s electric saws when he is cutting up carcases. It’s not something to feed to animals in quantity, especially birds, but giving them small pellets occasionally helps to soften their instinctive fear of us, only in the familiar environment where we do so.
To be continued next Friday 28 Nov/-