Nature versus nurture
Wednesday 17 March 2004
There's an exciting new 'tail' to tell down at the Discovery Centre
Squeak, a member of the dwarf mongoose group is rearing her own litter for the first time. 'What's so strange about that, you may ask?'
Well, Squeak is an extra special mother, who, as a youngster was hand reared by our specialist keepers after she was rejected by her own mother. While rearing her, the keepers were careful to ensure she knew that she was a mongoose, not a person!
They did this by putting her in a special partitioned area within the main enclosure, so she maintained visual contact with other mongooses. When she had matured, Squeak was successfully re-introduced to the group.
Squeak's natural instincts have obviously kicked in and she is proving a very attentive mother, cleaning and caring for her very own brood as nature intended.
The tiny mongoose pups are the latest success story for the Park, which so far this year has witnessed the birth of a common hippo for mother Nigna and two roan antelope calves.
Found in the savannah and mountain scrub of Ethiopia, Angola and Eastern South Africa, the mongoose will usually build a nest in an old termite mound giving birth to between one and seven live young following a gestation period of between 49 and 56 days.
Social in structure, usually with a dominant female, other members of the group will often help care for the young creating a crèche while the parents hunt for food.