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Squirrels and Mongoose Bully Cobra

Squirrels and Mongoose Bully Cobra
Squirrels and Mongoose Bully Cobra

This astonishing moment unravels when ground squirrels and a mongoose gang up and bully a cape cobra, in an attempt to protect their young. This fascinating sighting took place at Nossob Campsite in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Squirrels and Mongoose Bully Cobra

Lara De Matos was fortunate to get videos of this sighting. Annette Smit took these amazing photographs and shared the story with

“We were having lunch in Nossob campsite after a morning game drive. We were a bit disappointed because there had been no real exciting sightings. My husband was the first person to see the activity at the campsite near the swimming pool area. We saw the cape cobra and ground squirrels and knew something was bound to happen! We grabbed our cameras, and set off for a closer view.”

Squirrels and Mongoose Bully Cobra
Ground squirrels surrounding cape cobra

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Squirrels and Mongoose Bully Cobra
Squirrel confronting cobra in Kgalagadi

“When we got closer we saw that the ground squirrels were trying to keep the cape cobra away from their underground burrows, where they raise their young. The squirrels took turns constantly attacking the cobra from different angles. Suddenly a mongoose appeared and took over. At that stage, the ground squirrels took a rest and watched from the side as the mongoose had its moment to defend and attack.”

Squirrels and Mongoose Bully Cobra
Squirrel taking on a cobra

“After a while, the mongoose withdrew, while the squirrels again tried to deter the cobra. When the mongoose finally came back into the attack, the cape cobra decided it best to leave the scene. They all followed him to ensure that he was leaving for good.”

Squirrels and Mongoose Bully Cobra
Mongoose also joins in to defend against the cobra

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Squirrels and Mongoose Bully Cobra
Mongoose side-steps cobra’s attacks

“My best photographic opportunity ever.”

“For me, this was a once-in-a-lifetime moment. I do not think that a lot of people can say that they’ve had the opportunity to photograph such an interaction with all these species on their doorstep at a campsite.”

Squirrels and Mongoose Bully Cobra
Mongoose and cobra fighting in Kgalagadi

“Almost everybody in the camp gathered to watch the encounter and there was heaps of excitement and interaction. It happened over a long weekend and there were a lot of parents with their young children. One father said that this was an experience that no child can have in any school. And that he felt so privileged that his children could have experienced it. One of the young boys said that it was the best sighting ever, better than any cage fight.”

Squirrels and Mongoose Bully Cobra
Cobra and mongoose going at it

“I am terrified of snakes, but the way the ground squirrels and mongoose prevented the snake from moving in any direction reassured me somewhat, especially from where we were standing, I had a sense of security. I was very afraid that the mongoose or ground squirrels might die but later heard that they both have strong resistance to the venom of the cape cobra. If someone had told me that before the fight, I surely would have enjoyed it a lot more.”


“We all encouraged the mongoose and the ground squirrels to finish the fight as winners.”

Squirrels and Mongoose Bully Cobra
Squirrels trying their best to exhaust cobra

“For me, there is no better activity than driving around in our country’s fantastic parks (including bordering countries Botswana and Namibia) and photographing wild animals. This is therapy for my soul and I wish I could do this all year round. I do not think we always realize how privileged we are to have all these fantastic parks on our doorstep. I think taking photos for a photographer is like painting for Picasso or music for Mozart. We are in our own little world trying to create our own masterpieces.”

Squirrels and Mongoose Bully Cobra
Cape cobra in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Want to see more videos and blogs on amazing Snake, Squirrel & Mongoose moments? Follow these links:

Mongoose uses snake as swing

Angry birds gang up and attack snake

Birds desperately defend their chicks from snake

Squirrel battles cobra to protect her babies

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