These mongoose pups were having a wrestling match when a yellow-billed hornbill appeared down the road. One of the mongoose runs over to it to chase it away, but it’s what he does next that makes the safari guide burst out laughing.
She couldn’t keep it together watching as the pup rolls over onto his belly and appears to play dead. The guide was completely flabbergasted. “It’s what snakes do – ‘death fainting’” says the safari guide in disbelief.
She’s never seen a mongoose do that before and couldn’t get over it.
It could be the pup was playing dead, but it could also be that the mongoose was lying on his back to invite the bird to wrestle and play!
It seems a bizarre behavior, but hornbills and mongoose have a mutualistic hunting relationship.
Mongoose do eat birds, but dwarf mongoose tend to feed on insects, eggs and snakes, not full-sized hornbills.
Hornbills stick close to dwarf mongooses because they are opportunists, and will often steal the food that mongoose catch.
The group was on tour at Sabi Sands Private Reserve in South Africa when they witnesses this funny behavior.
Watch and share the cute encounter in the video below.
A longer version of the mongooses and hornbill can be seen in the video below.