Youtube via Latest Sightings

Ground Squirrels Defend Their Home Against Highly Venomous Cape Cobra


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It can be pretty terrifying seeing a deadly snake near your campgrounds, but this photographer said she oddly felt safe while seeing a Cape cobra near her campsite.

Lara De Matos was having lunch at the Nossob Campsite in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park near the Botswana border of South Africa when her husband noticed something near their campsite's swimming pool. Grabbing her camera, Lara was able to film a few ground squirrels fighting off a Cape cobra to prevent it from going into their burrows where they raise their young. Not only that, but a mongoose suddenly appeared and helped them. Watch the saga unfold in this clip shared by the Latest Sightings YouTube account.

Cape Cobra Vs. Ground Squirrels and Mongoose

As if seeing a highly venomous snake near your campsite wasn't already crazy enough, witnessing ground squirrels and a mongoose bravely team up and alternate fighting off the snake is another improbable sight in itself. Lara detailed to Latest Sightings what she and others at her campsite saw.

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"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," she explained. "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."

How Do Cape Cobras and Ground Squirrels Match Up?

Cape Cobra (Naja nivea), a venomous snake (reptile)

Willem Van Zyl via Getty Images

Cape cobras are a highly venomous species of snake that are common throughout desert regions and one of the most deadly snakes period, behind the black mamba. Although snakebites from Cape cobras do cause human deaths, most bite victims will survive if they're immediately hospitalized. If you get bitten by one, seek a hospital immediately. Cape cobras normally flee humans rather than outright attack them, but they will act in self-defense or attack is startled. They're known to eat anything they can swallow, such as bird eggs or even other snakes.

The Cape ground squirrel or South African ground squirrel is significantly different than the everyday squirrels we have in the U.S. These creatures are herbivores but are considered serious pests because their habit of removing tree bark can be pretty damaging. They dig and live in burrows to help protect themselves from extreme temperatures and predators. But in this case, they had to offensively protect their burrow because the Cape cobra is small enough to slither into their underground homes. Luckily, both ground squirrels and mongooses have a strong resistance against Cape cobra venom. They also, as indicated in this clip, have some guts!

Lara talked about fascinating it was that her fear of snakes was curbed by how the adorable-looking ground squirrels and mongoose ferociously defended their home. She said, "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."

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READ MORE: Unsuspecting Crocodile Fends for Itself Against a Pride of Lions

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