Unusual features/differences from similar
Broad dark bands across the back. The banded mongooses
which have narrow stripes. The tail is long, thin and short-haired
and has a distinct black tip whereas the tail of the banded mongoose
Visible Male/Female Differences
Breeding females have prominent
nipples, males have prominent scrotums.
Habitat and Habits
Dry south-western parts of the region. Occurs in scrub,
open woodland, and grassland. Does not occur in true desert, forest, or on mountains.
A very wide range of insects (especial larvae),
reptiles, amphibians and small birds.
Litters of 4-5
are produced after a gestation of 70 days in October-June, with a birth peak in January-April.
Only dominant females produce 1-3 litters per year in small bands, in larger bands two or three
Pups emerge from the
den at 2-3 weeks and forage independently at 3 months. They are sexually mature at 1
Behavior and Habits
Active only during the day and emerge from dens around
sunrise, retiring before sunset. They lazily spend 20-30 minutes sunbathing
after having emerged from the den. They live in bands of 6-15 and are
territorial. Males will fight savagely to take over groups and will drive out the
resident dominant males if victorious. Subordinate males may also be integrated
into the group as subordinates but will be required to do extra babysitting duties.
Subordinates display a subservient posture towards dominant males when greeting them.
Dominant males do the most scent marking. Older animals hold a higher rank rank.
Group disagreements which lead to fights may lead to serious injury and
even death. Bands forage as a group but each finds and catches its own food. Prey is detected by
smell and dug up with the forepaws. Sentinels
perch on high vantage points and keep lookout.
Sentinels give a continuous peeping
all-clear call. A rasping bark is the alarm call for raptors, a hoot alerts
the band to ground
predators. A "chrr" sound emitted in social interactions. When
foraging they make a "brrrp" call to maintain contact.
Dung and Field Sign
Droppings are up to 5 cm
long, 1-1,5 cm thick, containing insect fragments, and are deposited in middens
near warrens. Foraging holes which are up to 30 cm deep.