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Mongoose

Well, you know how it is.....I had been waiting and hunting for a good photo of a mongoose, and knowing it was just a matter of time before our paths crossed again. I have seen this lovely mammal about 10 times, but never managed a clear shot.

I left my big lens near some pythons I was hunting and went to go and have my sandwich in the shade, in the middle of February 2023. I am sitting there with a 35mm wide angle/macro, eating my sandwich, when lo and behold a mongoose comes directly towards me....too far away, so I switch to my 100mm macro, run down the path, and sit and wait....and although this is a heavy crop, I had great fun watching him (and reminding myself not to be lazy and carry my big 400mm lens always...)




next an earlier shot was when I was with expert guide and birder Mathew Kwan on a tour of Long Valley when he said, "oh, look, a mongoose"....


I did not see it at the time, but on looking at my first photos you can see the bird trying to chase off this fierce little predator.

Not my greatest of photos, but to be fair he was a long way off...even for 500mm at f7. and a correspondingly high ISO.



Hong Kong has two closely related mongooses, this one is the commoner of two species here, the small Indian mongoose or Javan Mongoose. The other is the slightly larger Crab eating mongoose, which I hope to find in the future.

The Small Asian Mongoose (Herpestes javanicus) is a small carnivore that looks somewhat like an elongated very short fox with small ears - or as someone said, a mean looking squirrel. Since it is active in the daytime, it is among the more easily spotted local mammals.

We rushed across the bridge after taking these pictures, hoping to track it along the pathway, but alas it disappeared into thin air, as is so often the case with wonderful wild creatures.


One of my other earlier attempts....



The Small Asian Mongoose mainly eats insects but they also feed on crabs, frogs, spiders, scorpions, birds and eggs...and of course snakes, even the venomous Chinese cobra. Although there has been one sighting on HK Island, if you want to see this lovely animal, then you need to go to the Northern areas, along the border with China, or TaiMoShan, TaiLam, or Plover Cove or Mai Po.


The Small Asian Mongoose were not seen in Hong Kong for a long time, although Hong Kong is within, or close to their natural ranges. It is thought that they have either moved into Hong Kong by expanding from nearby areas of their natural range or it is also possible that they existed in Hong Kong in the past and have now re-colonized Hong Kong after the reforestation of our Country Parks.

They have been introduced to several Pacific islands, Caribbean islands, South America, Japan and Europe to help control the rodent and snake populations.


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