Finding a friend with the same birthday as you is rare. Finding an entire village with the same D.O.B is even less likely.
Unless you’re a mongoose.
Apart from being some of the most sociable animals on the planet, mongoose colonies boast another incredible feature, they all give birth on the same day.
According to National Geographic, this synchronized schedule isn’t just a coincidence. Elder mongooses have been known to kill the offspring of others before they reach sexual maturity at around 3 years old, and reproduce on their own. When all the babies are born on the same day, it’s much harder to tell whose baby is whose.
Sometimes a dozen or more mongooses may give birth at the same time. Rather than mistakenly killing their own young, the mongooses instead raise the children together.
Some pups will follow one adult mongoose “escort” until they come of age, while others will tag behind more than one. During these formative months, the young mongooses learn how to forage and build shelters from the older ones.
“The same pup will stay with the same adult day after day after day for about two months until the offspring can find its own food,” Michael Cant, an ecologist at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Wales, told Nat Geo.
Mentor/mentee behavior like this is rarely seen outside of the the banded mongoose of sub-Saharan Africa. Then again, the mongoose isn’t your average animal.
“They reliably do everything wrong,” Cant says.
Perhaps that’s what endears them to us in the first place. Their lifelong family bonds are not unlike those of humans. And their tenacity in battle, a willingness to face much larger, deadly snakes, has been illustrated and inspiring ever since Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 book, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.
In 2017, a professional golfer from Scotland recorded a mongoose and a cobra fighting at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa. As UPI reports, Andrew Coltart posted the video to Instagram, and continued on with his round during the European Tour’s Nedbank Golf Challenge.
“It’s wild over here,” the golfer wrote.
As seen above, some mongooses will attack a snake on their own, while others may bring their group mates along for the fight, overpowering the threat with their combined strength.
As predators, they will end up eating the snake once the fight is over. It will provide food for the pups back at the den.
See a group of five mongooses give birth minutes apart in the video below!
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.