We all grew up hearing stories of snake and mongoose fight and how vicious enemies they are of each other. This time it was witnessed first hand by Elana Erusmus when she was on a guided safari at Namibia’s Etosha National Park. As soon as she saw deadly snake and mongoose fight, Etosha did what she does best – capture the entire sequence for posterity.
The fighters in this snake and mongoose fight were a boomslang – one of Africa’s deadliest and feared snakes and it’s worst enemy – the mongoose. The fight ended with the boomslang becoming the mongoose’s meal.
The mongoose is known to be an ambush predator and for its skills in killing deadly snakes. In a way, the boomslang did not have a chance against it’s arch enemy. Although highly venomous and known for its highly hemotoxic venom, the boomslang has one huge disadvantage. It belongs in the family of Colubridae, which means it’s a rear-fanged snake. Is this why the the boomslang had to pay with its life against the mongoose? Probably not since the mongoose is well known for killing even front fanged snakes as well.
In this fight, the mongoose adopted a simple but effective strategy. It went straight for the snake’s head after it quietly climbed the tree and clambered onto its unsuspecting victim. Initially the snake tried to shake its attacker off, but when it failed to do so it tried to bite the mongoose and inject its deadly hemotoxic venom into its body. But the mongoose was alert and deftly avoided all attempts of the boomslang. In the end, the boomslang just gave up due to exhaustion and the mongoose killed it with a bite to its head.
We were on our way back to camp after the morning’s photography session when our guide spotted a slender mongoose attacking a boomslang in a tree next to road. We realized immediately that this was a very special sighting. Our cameras were already tucked away in their dust covers and we were frantically trying to get our equipment out and ready. The mongoose would pursue the boomslang, continuously biting it on its head while the boomslang tried in vain to get away from its attacker.
said Elana describing this event. She further went on to add,
At times, the boomslang would curl itself around the slender mongoose in an attempt to defend itself or possibly to kill it with a snake bite. But it was very clear that the slender mongoose was the predator and that this time, the snake was the prey. A few times the mongoose would fall out of the tree just to clamber back to continue its relentless attack on the boomslang. After a while the boomslang looked tired and worst for wear. It was clear that the mongoose had the upper hand.
A deadly bite to the head seals the boomslang’s fate….