08 December 2014

The Owner Of The Hole

I spotted the hole a few months ago but didn't have a camera trap at hand. Now, almost a season later I decided to return.

The hole at Koeberg is under a bush at the top of a small dune

I didn't have the exact GPS co-ordinates and at first had some trouble finding it again. When I eventually tracked it down a slight sinking feeling fell over me... It looked very much abandoned. But then again it looked fairly abandoned the first time I saw it as well.

I decided it can't hurt to try my luck, and slapped the camera trap into the sand next to the hole. Two weeks later when I collected the camera everything still looked more or less the same: abandoned.

But when I checked the SD card I was pleasantly surprised by a familiar face, although more often than not the face that greeted me back didn't look very pleasant at all.

Small Grey Mongoose (Kleingrysmuishond - Galerella pulverulenta) master of the stink-eye!

The Small Grey Mongoose was the only animal species photographed during the two weeks at the hole, but what was lacking in variety was made up for in reliability. On average the mongoose was photographed once every day, usually just before or after mid day.

Is this what a Small Grey Mongoose looks like when it is in a good mood?

I think it is safe to assume the mongoose uses the hole in some way, but I'm not sure how exactly...

Some of the books mention that although these mongooses are active during the middle of the day, on warm summer days they like to rest during the hottest parts. It looks like a decent spot to take a siesta?

Oi! You talkin' about me, punk? I dare yous to say it to my face!

Another possibility is that this is a potential den site. They are known to sometimes have their pups in holes in the ground and these photos where taken during the middle of the breeding season. I haven't camera trapped many animal den sites, and none for extended periods of time, but I would assume to see more than one visit per day if this was a den site? And won't the visits be closer to sunrise and sunset? Then again I was using a Cuddeback which is notorious for missing a lot (most) of the action...

I don't have plans to camera trap at Koeberg again this year and I have other plans for the first half of next year. So, at least for now the mystery remains.


  1. What a nice surprise and handsome fellow/gal. Often there is more than one entrance. Could there be other entrances in the bushes?

    1. Mmmm that is a good point, there can easily by another entrance amongst the bushes. The plot thickens... :)