In the wild state it is gregarious, associating in herds of ten, twenty or more individuals, and, though it may under certain circumstances become dangerous, it is generally inoffensive and even timid, fond of shade and solitude and the neighbourhood of water.
They are harmless and inoffensive creatures, offering no resistance when caught; their principal means of escape being the extraordinary rapidity with which they burrow in the ground, and the tenacity with which they retain their hold in their subterranean retreats.
Among the inoffensive species are counted the graceful green " tree snake," which pursues frogs, birds and lizards to the topmost branches of the forest; also several species of pythons, the commonest of which is known as the carpet snake.
They style themselves " truly spiritual Christians," and in their rejection of the sacraments, their indifference to outward forms, and their insistence on the spiritual interpretation of the Bible (" the letter killeth "), they are closely akin to the Quakers, whom they resemble also in their inoffensive mode of life and the practice of mutual help.
In West Africa the Mpongwe believe in local spirits, just as do the Eskimo; but they are regarded as inoffensive in the main; true, the passerby must make some trifling offering as he nears their place of abode; but it is only occasionally that mischievous acts, such as the throwing down of a tree on a passer-by, are, in the view of the natives, perpetuated by the Ombuiri.