Tuesday, August 9

Welcome to the Tour of the Mongoose. I really hope you have a great time.

Duluth is buzzing with citizens debating the effects of a recent surge in the local mongoose population. Some see the mongooses as a menace. Others believe that the mongoose is an ally to human kind. We've asked two of the Raging Spade's finest reporters, Kate Oblonsky and Sean Freising, to give us their take on the issue.

Oblonsky: Round Up the Ruinous Rats

It was a beautiful, sunny day in the Northland. An area woman slipped on her sandals and went outside to water the lilac bushes growing near the woods in her yard. Suddenly, a flash of brown came toward her. Before she knew what was happening, a mongoose had attacked her and bitten off three of her toes.

That woman was me. The loss of three toes means that I will forever have a hard time balancing, but I am incredibly lucky to have escaped with my life.

The recent surge in the local mongoose population is having a devastating impact on the region’s human inhabitants. Sure, mongooses (mongeeze) are cool. But, no doubt, it was a mistake to bring 3,000 into the region.

Though the mongoose is our ally in battling the local snake problem, it must not be forgotten that at any moment, the mongoose can turn on us. The enemy of our enemy is not always our friend.

The mongoose’s incredible agility and strength have made it one of nature’s greatest fighters. However, over time, the mongoose has become increasingly cunning and vicious. In Gary, a woman was seriously injured when a mongoose dove out from some bushes, knocking the woman off her bike, and running off with her thumb and a great quantity of her hair. Even more frightening, a mongoose snuck into the home of a Lakeside man, hid under his bed until nightfall, and then attacked the man in his sleep.

The mongoose is a force to be reckoned with. It is, after all, the only animal that can kill a cobra in battle. Just because the mongoose and man share a common enemy (437 Duluthians suffered fatal cobra bites in 2004), doesn’t mean that man and mongoose are meant to coexist within the city limits.

The fact that a mongoose is living in a crevice in the foundation of my house has me afraid to step outside or invite people over. I haven’t slept in 18 days.

The local government must take steps to move the mongooses out of town. If the problem is not dealt with, the mongoose will slowly take over the city as people become prisoners in their own home, or worse, are eliminated by renegade mongooses.

For those brave souls who venture out – remember – when confronted by a mongoose, the mongoose will try to provoke you into attacking it. It will then avoid your attack by agile dodging. When you are exhausted, the mongoose will seize your head in its jaws and crush your skull. Try not to let this happen.

Freising: Maintain the Mongoose or face Massive Monstrosities

No one in Duluth can deny the twin evils plaguing our city: the pestilent, ever-present cobra and the constant economic woes. There is a solitary means for us to eliminate evil from this city, and it goes by the name “mongoose.”

I own a mongoose farm. And I’m proud of it – last year, I pumped over $89,200 into the local economy, due solely to mongoose sales. With my other farm labors, I’m able to support a staff of 4 full-time people – people with health insurance and people with retirement accounts. To say mongooses (mongeeze) have a large effect on our local economy is an understatement. With a small pack of mongooses (I have only 300) I’m able to supply many local mongoose vendors.

There are some who would question the utility of the mongoose. To them, I say: are you afraid of death in a plane crash? Because when that plane’s parachute comes out and sets you gently upon the ground, you owe the mongoose your life. It is a little known fact that mongoose hairs have an extraordinarily high tensile strength. In a rare feat of bioengineering, mongoose hair is now converted into high-tensile ropes for plane parachutes. And we call these creatures aggressive? They’re saving lives, as far as I can tell.

Outside of economic value, the mongoose kills a cobra swiftly and deftly, bringing peace of mind to the masses. Our city is known for its ultra-aggressive cobras. A non-native snake, the cobra has inhabited Duluth since the days of the first carnival. Two local carnies brought a cobra into Duluth, and we’ve been fighting them ever since.

The largest cobra hotspots have now been cleaned up, thanks to the mongoose. I no longer walk in fear through the alleys in the hospital district; I no longer sit naked and afraid while I bathe at the local public sauna. These two cobra breeding grounds have been cleansed, thanks to the mongoose. But due to the city’s ban on mongooses (mongeeze) in public spaces, the Aquarium is now home to over 1200 cobras. Without the mongoose, it is unlikely that anyone could so much as set foot outside without first taking cobra anti-venom.

Economically, Duluth’s parachute-rope industry is taking off. My farm is working proof of that. And we ALL know that mongooses don’t kill people: cobras kill people. Maintaining and even increasing the number of local mongooses is a boon to Duluth; its citizens and tourists can’t survive without them. Anyone stating otherwise is either a crazy person or insane.