Mysterious creature found at Benoni lake identified

Mysterious creature found at Benoni lake identified

Vernon Aliferis of Rynfield didn’t know what animal this was when he discovered it on the overflow at Middle Lake, and said he was concerned pollution could be the cause of its death.

The ‘strange lake creature’ found in August has been identified as a Marsh Mongoose.

Jane Trembath, Korsman Conservancy chairperson, said Marsh Mongoose (Atilax paludinosus) are not as rare as people may think.

“Recently, a Marsh Mongoose from Korsman started visiting gardens in the suburbs and stole a couple of chickens – although their favourite food is freshwater crabs,” she told Benoni City Times.

“When one was reported in a garden in Willow Terrace, I was worried someone would kill it so I contacted the SA Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, and Phillip Vivier came to capture it and then release it at Serengeti.”

ALSO READ: VIDEO: Mongoose uses snake as a swing

Other readers also contacted the Benoni City Times about the creature, with André van der Sandt stating it is definitely not a dassie, as a dassie does not have a tail.

Keegen Pringle, an avid wildlife enthusiast, said he too believed it is a Marsh Mongoose, based on its size, pointy face, colour and feet.

“These are nocturnal animals that typically inhabit marshy areas and reed-beds, feeding on frogs, crabs and even fish,” he explained.

“They are widespread across most of South Africa, although seldom seen due to their shy nature.”

Marsh Mongoose have also been spotted at Korsman Conservancy in Westdene.

Rynfield fisherman Vernon Aliferis brought the carcass of the Marsh Mongoose to Benoni City Times’ attention after he discovered it on the overflow at Middle Lake on August 22.

At the time, he didn’t know what the creature was.

When the Benoni City Times visited the area with him, two similar carcasses were spotted on the overflow.

Aliferis is concerned pollution in Middle Lake could be killing the Marsh Mongoose inhabitants.

Benoni City Times is awaiting comment from the Ekurhuleni metro regarding the quality of the water at Middle Lake, and the large amount of litter in and around the lake.

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