Smart! Mongoose Pup Tries to Psych Out Hornbill Bird by Playing Dead

One of the pups runs over to a hornbill bird and quickly flops to its back appearing to play dead

This is the hilarious moment a mongoose pup tries to act dead when a large hornbill bird walks over to where it is playing.

Three adorable pups can be seen wresting with each other on the side of the road at Sabi Sands Private Reserve in South Africa.

As the bird approaches a brave little mongoose runs over to it before comically flopping on its back and putting its legs into the air as if playing dead.

Three mongoose pups playfully wrestle with each other on the side of the road at the Sabi Sands Private Reserve in South Africa

Safari tour guide Tayla McCurdy bursts out laughing at the unusual encounter and asks: ‘Has it just pretended to be dead? That was amazing.’

The mongoose then drops to its back again as the hornbill looks around and tries to walk into the grass.

Ms McCurdy continues to giggle as the mongoose once more plays dead, before she says: ‘That is hands down the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

‘I honestly did not know that mongoose do that.’

Another mongoose then tries to join in and sits next to the playful one, appearing to act as a distraction, before the other jumps at the unsuspecting hornbill.

The confused hornbill then looks around at the road and into the grass, trying to work out where the little mongoose went before the short clip ends.

One of the pups runs over to a hornbill bird and quickly flops to its back appearing to play dead
The confused hornbill edges closer to the grass as another mongoose heads towards it and the playful pup rolls onto its back putting its legs into the air once more

Experts have said that the mongoose pup in the video was trying to get the bird to play with it and that the animals often roll on their back to start a game.

Lynda Sharpe, a behavioral ecologist at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, explained how doing this is an almost ‘irresistible lure’ to a playful mongoose as it says ‘come and get me, I’ll let you win,’ reports National Geographic.

Mongoose and hornbills have a unique relationship and are often seen together as they help each other out in the wild.

Hornbills look out for larger predators, keeping the smaller mongoose safe, and in return they help to find insects for the bigger birds to eat, reports fascinatingAfrica.

SOURCE: Daily Mail, by Bryony Jewell