lightly used mongrel process - mysql connection

I noticed that in one of my apps that are lightly used, we had a background process that would only contact the DB if some condition was met. If not, it would not contact the DB. It could go for days without establishing a connection to the DB. And then, when it was finally time, the process would blow up because I would get a connection timed out error. I understand this now, and have reconfigured the background process.

That lead me to think of some issues we have seen with lightly used apps and the mongrel processes we have. If the app is rarely hit, and let's say I have three mongrels setup, it is conceivable that at least one of those processes could go for a long time before contacting the DB.

Does that time out? Or does Mongrel have some keep alive built in already?