On The Mongoose and Other Ramblings

If you ever met a mongoose, I doubt it would elicit your admiration. Crafty and cunning, they slink low to the ground, falling upon eggs or killing baby birds the way eagles pluck fish out of clear running water, only not nearly as majestic. Unlike squirrels peppering mainland highways too confused in traffic to set a steady course and undone because of it, mongooses possess laser focus as they strike a beeline across the tarmac. They do not waiver in this nor in any action I am aware of. Weasel of the tropics, the mongoose is generally thought of as a nasty, vicious creature.

Today while on my bicycle, I spotted a mother mongoose with two little babies tagging along behind her. When I spoke to them, one of the babies turned around and its beady little eyes glistened in the morning sun. It was nothing if not precious.

Thus I began pondering humans, and how we, like the mongoose, have adapted to prey not only upon other animals, but upon forests and minerals and oceans and, yes, even upon one another. Save the philosopher’s journey into the concept of predestination, we no more chose our species or the color of our skin than the mongoose chose to be a mongoose. For better or for worse, our collective cunning knows no bounds. Yet on the flip side, humans can be loving stewards to our offspring and to other living things.

Like the mongoose in Hawai’i, many of our ancestors come from foreign shores. And we adapt, some would say overly-adapt to our circumstances. As supreme opportunists, there are no easy answers as to why one moment we are tender and the next we are blowing up a village. The mongoose, on the other hand, is simply following nature’s directive to survive.

 

2 comments on “On The Mongoose and Other Ramblings”

  1. Interesting observations! I tend to sympathize more with the mongoose. Every living creature can be destructive, which they do by instinct, only in order to survive. But only humans have a choice, only humans can actually be “vicious” – it’s not an animal quality — and only humans destroy the entire planet. However, amazingly, there is some goodness also in humans — one has to look a bit harder for it, but, you are right, it is there.

    • Aloha Sharon:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. Much appreciated. Though I cannot disagree with you that humans are perhaps the most vicious among the species here on Planet Earth, It’s complicated out there in the wilds 😉 I’ve observed animals, whether on documentary film or in actuality, acting not on instinct to survive but rather on some other impulse that appears to be unbalanced by standards we previously understood. The statement I made is quite true, that these creatures are “generally thought of as …” by many humans who consider them a nuisance. They are one of the most cunning and prolific predatory species I know of in the Pacific Rim and much if not all of Asia. They have decimated many native species of birds in Hawai’i herself, which is of great concern to wildlife preservationists.

      Was it always true to such a degree, this predation and proliferation? Or is it because humans have drastically altered the balance of nature? And so I continue questioning my own and old assumptions as I go along. Blessings on the day!


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