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Monday, 15 October 2012

Another Mongoose!

CCF has carried out a number of camera trapping surveys, and also maintains a network of cameras positioned for ongoing monitoring of the wildlife on our land.  While we are mainly focused on cheetahs, there are many other species out there, and the cameras will trigger no matter what passes them by.  In this series of weekly blog entries, I will use these pictures to illustrate some of the wealth of animal life in Namibia - one species per week.  I hope you will enjoy seeing a little more of our world here in the bush.

When referencing African wildlife most people automatically think of the larger fauna (elephants, giraffe, rhinos), while the smaller species tend to be forgotten.  So today’s blog will highlight one of these overlooked animals: the slender mongoose.

Like the name suggests, this mongoose has a very slender body of 27.5 - 40cm, accompanied by a long tail of 23-33cm.  The males weigh around 640-715g while the females are smaller, with a weight of 460-575g.

Their colour varies according to the subspecies, ranging from a dark red/brown, to shades of grey, or even yellow.  They can easily be distinguished from other mongoose in the region by a prominent black tip on the tail.  The slender mongoose's fur is also silkier than any other member of the Herpestidae family.

These small mammals normally live alone or in pairs, and can be found throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.  They are not territorial but do maintain stable home ranges, which they share with other family members.  They are adaptable and can live almost anywhere within this wide range, but are most commonly found in the savannah and semi-arid areas.  Slender mongoose are mostly carnivorous but occasionally omnivorous.  They usually eat insects, but from time to time also eat lizards, amphibians, rodents, snakes and even fruit.  They have the ability to climb trees and will often hunt birds! Slender mongoose are listed as least concern on the IUCN Red List. 

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